From the outside, it just looked like any other brown envelope – easily mistaken for boring company paperwork and ignored by busy Asda staff as they went about their work.
But when shocked employees eventually opened a package left at the supermarket’s Chesser store last year, they were stunned to find it contained £7500 in cash – with an anonymous hand-written note asking that the money be given to “poor children” in need.
Now three city charities have been handed £2500 each courtesy of the mysterious good Samaritan – with one worker hailing the gift as “like pennies from heaven”.
The gobsmacked bosses of Broomhouse Carers, Broomhouse Big Project and Gate 55 – all of which work to improve the lives of local children – today insisted the money would make a “huge difference” to the work they do in their communities.
Asda Chesser store manager Ian McMullan said staff had been left “overwhelmed” by the surprise find, but insisted they were “honoured” to be able to put the money to good use.
He also hailed colleague Judy Murray – who found the envelope back in September but has now moved on to manage the Asda Livingston store – as “very, very honest” for promptly handing the cash over.
He said: “It was in a brown bag that was left at the George clothing desk, and it was actually pushed away in the corner. We think it could have been there for two or three days before we actually picked it up.
“Judy, who opened it, was very shocked. She didn’t really know what to do, so she came and had a word with myself and then we counted it. It was £7440, all in £10 and £20 notes. The only thing with it was the hand-written note. We tried to identify the customer who left it, to make sure it was left for the right reasons, but we couldn’t identify them through CCTV or other methods.
“We held it for about a month to make sure the person who handed it in had the opportunity to claim it back. We then gave it to the police and they held it in Lost and Found in case somebody claimed it. But it was never claimed and the police gave it back to us.
“It is an extremely generous and selfless thing for someone in the local community to do and we were honoured to be able to choose three deserving charities to put the money to good use. It really does show what a great and caring community we live in.”
The three charities set to benefit from the cash boost said the money would go towards upgrading facilities, improving summer play schemes and even funding trips away for needy children over the school holidays.
Abigail Jackson, project manager for Broomhouse Young Carers, said: “It’s wonderful. Donations like this are like pennies from heaven, really. We are always looking for money to support our project. We are looking to use the money for our activities programme, to enhance the lives of young volunteers. We run a programme of activities for them to provide respite from their caring role – we do things like rock climbing, trampolining and swimming lessons.”
Pat Lee, chair of Sighthill community hub Gate 55’s management committee, said the cash would be used to put on a summer play scheme for the children, to upgrade kitchen facilities and buy new equipment for the centre’s art room.
She added: “It’s absolutely fantastic. We are delighted. Sighthill is a deprived area – we don’t get a lot and the kids don’t get a lot.”
Sasha MacLeod from youth charity The Big Project said: “We couldn’t believe it when we got the call from Asda Chesser. We are extremely grateful to the person who left the money and to Asda for choosing us. This money will go a long way and help make a huge difference.”