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City snow plow operator sees green amidst the white

WILLMAR -- Curt Hein pushed tons of hard-packed snow over the weekend in his job as a snow plow operator for the City of Willmar.

He also pushed one vehicle license plate and a wallet holding exactly $1,158 in cold, hard cash.

There wasn't much to do about the snow but push it aside, but he made sure the wallet and cash were returned to its owner.

The owner of the wallet and cash discovered by Hein early Sunday morning came to the Law Enforcement Center only hours later and claimed it, Captain David Wyffels of the Willmar Police Department reported.

Hein said he found the wallet while plowing snow sometime between 5 and 6 a.m. on the southeast side of town on 20th Avenue near Ninth Street.

He was operating a loader, and mopping up from the Saturday snow storm. There had been a car stuck on 20th Avenue Southeast during the night, and when Hein made his way down the snow-covered road his blade kicked up a license plate. He stopped and got out to retrieve it, and by chance spotted a wallet lying within a foot of it.

To his surprise, the wallet held a credit card and a PIN number, an identification card, and lots of greenbacks. There were several $100 bills, and a mix of lower denomination bills adding up to $1,158.

Hein said he had no hesitation about reporting the find and turning it all over to the police. "I couldn't live with myself,'' he said of the idea of doing anything else.

"Besides,'' he said. "I believe in good karma and bad karma.'' He figures a good deed will bring good things in its wake.

Police were able to use the identification card to contact the owner. He was able to prove his identity and repeated "thank you, thank you, thank you'' while signing for its return.

As of Monday afternoon, Hein had not heard from the owner. He can only speculate about how the wallet and money may have been lost, and whether the owner realized it and was in distress before police contacted him.

A message left on the phone listed to the wallet's owner was not returned.