Matt Cureton, who works at Wendy’s on Okeechobee Road, Fort Pierce, has received lots of media coverage after he found a purse with $1,500 in it. The purse was returned to its owner. WILL GREENLEE / TCPALM
FORT PIERCE — It’s nice to get some recognition for a job well done.
And in the case of 19-year-old Matt Cureton, who works at a Wendy’s on Okeechobee Road in Fort Pierce, the recognition included national media attention.
All over a returned purse with $1,500 cash inside.
“I was very surprised that people would make such a big deal out of the story,” Cureton said Thursday afternoon. “I certainly would hope that everyone would do what I did.”
The story began Monday as Francis Humanick, 74, and his 71-year-old wife, Margaret Humanick, traveled back to Boca Raton from Orlando, where they had watched their granddaughter in a soccer tournament.
They stopped at the Wendy’s between Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike and had a hamburger and some chili.
“We got in the car, got down here to Boca, started unloading the car, my wife realized that she had forgotten her pocketbook,” Francis Humanick said Thursday.
Humanick said he got online and found the Wendy’s. He called the manager and learned it had the purse.
Standing in the eatery Thursday, manager Chris Berg said Cureton found the purse as he cleaned the dining room. Cureton was working the register, and part of his duties include ensuring the dining room is clean.
Chris Berg, manager of a Wendy’s on Okeechobee Road by the Florida Turnpike, describes how an employee helped return a purse to a woman who left it behind. WILL GREENLEE/TCPALM
“He turned it in to the manager, and the manager put it in the office because our policy is … if there is a purse or something missing, put it back there so no one can touch it,” Berg said.
Back in Boca Raton, Humanick said it was almost 8 p.m., and he said he asked how late the store stays open.
“They said until 1 (a.m.),” Humanick said. “We got back in our car, we drove 87 miles back to Fort Pierce.”
Humanick said his wife explained what the purse looked like, and said store employees hadn’t even opened it.
“All my wife’s credit cards were in there,” he said. “Her driver’s license, and also we had $1,500 in cash.”
Humanick, a seasonal resident, said he worked part time at a golf course in New York and put some of the money away for work on his home in Boca Raton and to have his car shipped to New York.
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“She came back to get it and opened it, and there was a lot of money in it,” Berg said. “We hadn’t touched it. … It wasn’t ours to touch.”
Humanick said his wife gave Cureton $100, and they thanked him for his honesty, prompting Cureton to begin “breaking down a little bit.”
Margaret Humanick, of Boca Raton, stopped by a Fort Pierce Wendy’s with her husband, Francis, but forgot her pocketbook.
Honesty deserves kudos
Humanick said Wendy’s was honest, and he thought the staff deserved kudos.
Humanick said he contacted the Sun Sentinel and was interviewed Tuesday. Other media representatives followed suit on Wednesday. By Thursday, it was on Fox News.
“You hear a lot of bad things nowadays in the paper, mudslides, and fires and bombings and people killing,” Humanick said. “You very rarely hear anything good.”
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He said everything was in the purse just as they left it.
“They were really shocked that no one looked through it,” Cureton said. ”They were so grateful they gave me $100 reward, which was more than surprising.”
Cureton said he is saving up for college, and said it’s the first purse he’s recovered here.
Berg said Cureton has worked there for about six months.
“He’s a good employee, nice guy,” Berg said. “Always does his job, shows up on time; he’s shy.”
Berg, who has worked for Wendy’s for 24 years, said he didn’t think this would generate media attention.
“I’ve probably dealt with 50, 60 purses — one a week give or take — and no one but this lady called the news, and now it’s (generating national news),” he said.
“We just did our jobs, we did what we thought was right which is what we do every day, and suddenly it’s exploded.”