Lizeth Naranjo, a waitress at Guadalajara Restaurant in downtown El Paso, noticed the wad of cash in an envelope on the restaurant's counter Wednesday, the El Paso (Texas) Times reported.
Naranjo, 32, said she ran after the customer, but he had already disappeared from the street, so she stored the $138 in a drawer in the back of the restaurant in case he returned to claim it.
The man, Richard Rechy, 60, went back to the restaurant the next day in hopes that someone had saved his cash, which he said he planned to use to pay off a library fine dating back to his time as a New Mexico State University student in the late 1980s.
Naranjo on Thursday said she recognized Rechy right away and produced his money.
"I joked that I had spent it already," Naranjo said. "I knew he was upset about it, so I wanted to cheer him up."
Rechy said he was thankful for Naranjo's actions.
"It's very emotional when you never have had money and you lose $138," Rechy said. "When someone cares and treats you well after you've had a hard life, you get emotional."
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