Barrow carver Gilford Mongoyak Jr. was taking a leisurely drive about the Arctic coast city in late December when he passed a suitcase sitting in the road. It had no markings on the outside, so he took it home, where he and his wife opened it. They didn't find the owner's identification, but they did find thousands of dollars in cash wrapped in white paper, writes Wasilla-based photographer Bill Hess in his blog.
"My hands kind of started really shaking with that kind of money right there," [Gilford] says. "We say, really, what should we do? So my wife and I decided the best thing to do was to take it to Public Safety (police department)." ...
[An] officer opened up the suitcase and studied the contents
"Then he took a look up at me and said, 'You know what? It's not $10,000. It's $50,000.'"
The officer told Gilford and his wife a local restaurateur had reported the money missing just before leaving Barrow on a flight south. Gilford said friends later told him he should have kept the money.
"But I was raised in a good Christian home with a good Christian mom and dad. They always taught me to do the right thing. I have friends who are saying that I was a good Samaritan. My daughter is proud of me. ... I was rich for like 15 or 20 minutes," he laughed.
The owner of the cash offered him a free dinner at her restaurant as a reward, but he said no thanks.
Read more at Hess' blog, Wasilla Alaska by 300.