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Money accidentally put in mail returned to surprised student

8:00 AM, Jul 11, 2013   |    comments
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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- A working college student was shocked when the U.S. Postal Service returned the $400 she'd accidentally placed in the mail, and they did it in only a few days.

"I just kissed it goodbye," said Betsy Holmes. "I kind of kicked myself for it. I was in a rush."

The $400 was for a new laptop computer. Holmes placed the cash in an envelope she got from work and wrote "deposit" on the outside. On the way to the bank, she stopped by a post office drop box.

That's where everything went wrong.

Holmes accidentally mixed the envelope full of cash with a stack of mail. All of it went in the drop box.

By the time she'd realized what she'd done, her $400 was on its way to the Gwinnett processing center to mix and mingle with a mash of mail. Approximately 3 million letters, boxes and packages dash through the processing center each and every day.

Betsy Holmes' envelope had no stamp. Her name wasn't written on it.

"It said 'deposit' on the outside, so it was obvious there was money in it," Holmes said. "I assumed it went through a lot of hands, and would have been easy for someone to slip it in their pocket."

A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service says it's not unusual for them to receive envelopes with no stamp and little information.

"If it stays at the post office and we haven't collected the mail, it's a pretty easy process (to find the owner)," said Michael Miles. "If it gets to the processing plant, it gets a little more complicated."

Betsy had one thing going for her. The envelope did have the return address of her employer. Someone at the processing center noticed.

"We take our lumps over the negative things that go on," said Miles. "We have a lot of good employees that try to do the right thing."

Only a few days after kissing it goodbye, Betsy Holmes' money was back in her hands, postage paid by the U.S. government.

"There were good people who did the right thing," said Holmes. "I appreciate it."

For a working student who's about to get married, that's a special delivery.

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