Dining With Denise Neil

Spangles’ Rene Steven praises employees who found $7,000 of lost cash in a booth

Spangles spokeswoman Rene Steven is praising her El Dorado restaurant staff, who returned a giant wad of $100 bills to its rightful owners.
Spangles spokeswoman Rene Steven is praising her El Dorado restaurant staff, who returned a giant wad of $100 bills to its rightful owners.

People accidentally leave all kinds of things behind at fast-food restaurants — usually keys, credit cards and cellphones.

Never in his almost 10 years with Spangles, though, has Joey Simpson — the general manager of the restaurant at 2005 W. Central in El Dorado — had a customer leave behind an envelope filled with $7,000 worth of $100 bills.

But that’s what happened a week ago at the restaurant, when a woman who stopped in for a late lunch left behind her purse, which employees later found out was stuffed with a thick roll of cash.

It all started on Monday, July 23. Between 3 and 4 p.m. a couple in their 50s stopped in to dine. Later, restaurant assistant manager Paige McDaniel received a frantic call from a young man who said his relative had left her purse there. Had anyone seen it?

McDaniel, who has worked at the restaurant for two years, went to the booth the man described and found the purse, which had fallen into a hard-to-see spot. She told the man on the phone that she had it, and she stowed it away in Simpson’s office.

Simpson was in the restaurant when the couple returned, and before he gave them the purse, he asked them to describe it, just in case.

“They were right there at the front counter, and you could tell they were freaking out, just by their faces,” he said. “Then the lady going through her purse finds this envelope full of $100 bills.”

The woman quickly counted the money, Simpson said, and she told the staff she had been headed to buy a new truck.

“You could see the sigh of relief on her face,” Simpson said. “She said, ‘Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I’m so glad it’s all here.’ ”

The man accompanying the woman reached into the envelope and tossed two of the $100 bills on the counter, Simpson said. He told the man it wasn’t necessary, that “this is part of what we do,” but the man insisted.

Simpson said he didn’t think to get the couples’ names before they left — he didn’t think it was that big of a deal. But Spangles spokeswoman and director of operations Rene Steven bragged him and his employees up on Facebook on Wednesday, and the good deed got lots of attention.

“I am sure they will tell this story many, many times about the honest staff we have in El Dorado,” Steven wrote. “To my supervisor Jay, and his management team led by Joey Simpson and to Paige and the rest of the management team and staff — thank you for being such a great representative of Spangles.”

Simpson said the staff used the reward money to throw a pizza party. McDaniel was in favor.

“She’s a team player,” Simpson said. “She’s a very honest person.”

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