If you found close to a $1,000, would you turn it in?
Chris Salituro and his daughter, Livia, with Service Manager Mary Kuehling, who held an envelope of money they had lost at the Vail Street Jewel in Arlington Heights.
JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer
Chris Salituro knows this tale is about lost and found — money that was given to his 7-year-old daughter for her first communion, and then accidentally lost, and then miraculously found.
But to him, the real story is about the basic decency of folks who live and work in Arlington Heights.
The money Livia received for her first communion was going to go into a new savings account opened in her name. On June 29, Chris Salituro came into downtown Arlington Heights, the envelope containing $1,000 in cash and checks in an envelope in his pocket, to pick up Livia from theater camp at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre.
They were going to go right to the bank. Instead, they ran into a group heading for afternoon treats at Berry-Yo down the street.
"It was a windy day," Salituro recalls, "and I was pushing the baby in the stroller, and keeping track of my other daughter, when we got talking to the other kids."
He and Livia impulsively decided to join the group, and as Salituro admits, "I forgot about depositing the money."
Later that evening he got a call from his sister-in-law, who had gotten a call from a doorman at the 44 N. Vail building.
The doorman had gone into the building's parking garage and found a check that had blown in. It was written to Livia from the sister-in-law.
"I checked my pockets and realized, oh my God, I lost the whole envelope," Salituro said.
By that time the doorman was off duty, but next morning Salituro rushed over there, hoping he had found the whole envelope.
His heart sank when the doorman gave him only the one check, now realizing he must have dropped the envelope between there and the Vail Street Jewel-Osco, and that the contents were most likely scattered to the winds.
That set off a frantic search of the area. Salituro found three more checks in bushes and behind some local buildings but the nevelope remained elusive.
He walked into Tuscan Market and a pediatric dental clinic, hoping someone had turned it in. No one had, but they invited him to put up signs in their windows.
His last stop was Jewel-Osco.
At the service desk, a worker handed him an envelope decorated in purple with Livia's name brightly marked. Inside, was every check and every bill that was missing.
"We don't know who it is," said Mary Kuehling, service manager. A customer had come in, she said, relating how he saw the envelope in the parking lot, with checks and bills — some $100 denominations — blowing all over. "He literally had to chase them down."
The customer ran every last piece of paper to earth, then came into the store and calmly turned the envelope into the service desk. He told the worker, "I hope I got it all, I tried to get as much of it as I could," then said he was sure someone was looking for it, and walked away.
Kuehling said it takes a special person to turn in so much cash, untouched. "It was just the right customer," she said.
"But it happens all the time," she added. "We find all kinds of things in the parking lot — phones, wallets, purses, even computers."
Chris Salituro says his list of personal heroes is long, starting with the unknown Good Samaritan. "We'd really like to thank him," Salituro added. "It was so kind and selfless."
He's impressed by everyone — the doorman, who bothered to track down his sister-in-law; the stores in the area who offered to let him put up signs; the Jewel-Osco personnel for their handling of the situation.
As for Livia, whose first communion was at Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness and then celebrated with 50 family members at Pinstripes in South Barrington, she's happy the money got the bank after all, where her dad immediately took it after leaving Jewel.
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