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Store cashier who reunited elderly woman with lost cash gets surprise thank you gifts

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Gregory "Bump Head" Smith surprises MarketPlace cashier Elvina Moniz with flowers and gifts after he saw her return a wad of lost cash to an elderly woman on New Year’s Eve (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A supermarket cashier who reunited an elderly woman with hundreds of dollars she dropped in the store on New Year’s Eve got a surprise thank you yesterday from a customer who saw her good deed.

Elvina Moniz, a 12-year veteran of the MarketPlace on Church Street in Hamilton, moved fast after she found the cash wrapped in Christmas paper on the store floor after she went to check a price for Gregory “Bump Head” Smith and the woman was reunited with her money.

Mr Smith said: “It touched me to see what she did.

“She went to get a price on something for me and when she came back she had found all this money, Christmas wrapped, and picked it up.

“These are hard times for all of us. It was a lot of money, and the elderly lady who lost it, her daughter had just given it to her.

“She came back into the store and got it, and I decided I had to do something for this lady for her honesty that night.”

Mr Smith recruited friend Gary Saltus, one of the owners of Front Street florist Flowers by GiMi, who made up a bouquet for Ms Moniz free of charge.

Mr Saltus said: “I could identify with it, because that happened to me once. I had thousands of dollars in a bank pouch and I left it behind in a phone booth.

“I went to the police station and someone had turned it in. I asked who I could thank but they didn’t want anybody to know.

“So thanking this lady for her kindness was a no-brainer for me. With all the doom and gloom going around, we need the bright side.”

Burrows Lightbourn liquor store also helped to thank Ms Moniz for her kindness and honesty and chipped in two bottles of wine.

Elite beauty salon on Front Street donated a gift certificate.

Tyesha Barioni, the salon owner, said her contribution was “just paying it forward”.

She added: “When somebody does something nice, I believe in contributing to the reward. What goes around comes around.”

Ms Moniz said: “It just came naturally – the first thing I thought when I picked it up was `oh my goodness, this is really going to dampen somebody’s day’.”

Ms Moniz said she at first thought the package was “a bunch of Christmas paper” and was about to throw it away before she realised it was banknotes.

She added it was such a large amount she thought it had to be someone’s rent money.

Ms Moniz said: “It was a lot.”

She rushed to the manager and asked him to check security camera footage to track down who had dropped the cash.

Ms Moniz said: “They went on camera to see who the last person was being served and they tracked her down – fortunately she was still around, just outside, and we got it back to her.”

Kevin Smith, the communications manager at MarketPlace, timed the surprise presentation for Ms Moniz’s break.

Marshlene Moniz, Ms Moniz’s daughter, who turned up for the presentation, said: “She never mentioned it to me.

“After I found out I asked her about it last night. She said she’d been so busy she just forgot about it.”

Ms Moniz came out on to the shop floor and found a gathering waiting for her with flowers and gifts.

Colleagues burst into a round of applause as Mr Smith and Mr Saltus handed over the gifts.

Ms Moniz said: “I can’t stop tearing up. You really, really got me.”

She added she sometimes paid the difference for customers who did not have enough to pay their bill – and highlighted that people often came back to repay her.

Ms Moniz said: “When you do something honest, you get blessed by it, and I just hope to pass this blessing on.”

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Published January 15, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated January 15, 2022 at 7:58 am)

Store cashier who reunited elderly woman with lost cash gets surprise thank you gifts

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