Instead, the Murfreesboro, Tenn., man found $3,800 in hundred dollar bills and bank deposit slips in a plastic bag.
The Speedy Mart manager, Maulik Patel, said Ellis picks through the store's dumpster every day, but nearly $4,000 is beyond anything he's ever turned up.
"Once I found $15," Ellis told WKRN Nashville.
"When he dropped it [off] to me, I couldn’t believe it," Patel said. "He said he found it in the dumpster last night and dropped it off here and said if there is anyone looking money, you can give it to them."
The owner was ultimately located, having accidentally thrown it out while cleaning out his car, and gave Ellis a $400 reward for returning the money.
"A lot of customers come into the store and think it’s unbelievable," Patel said. "When I told them what happened, they say that it’s unbelievable, because in this day not many people would turn in all that money."