Georgia Woman Finds $500 Cash in Her KFC Meal

The misplaced money wasn't the kind of lettuce you'd usually expect with a chicken sandwich.

A KFC employee hands an order to a customer at a drive-thru
Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

KFC restaurants offer more than a half-dozen side dishes, including its Secret Recipe fries, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese. It doesn't typically include a bag of cash with its buckets, chicken tenders, or sandwiches, but that's exactly what a Georgia woman received last week.

On Wednesday, JoAnn Oliver ordered a chicken sandwich at her local KFC's drive-thru, but when she got back to her desk and opened the bag, she found something unexpected inside. A small envelope — filled with $543 in cash — had been placed underneath her sandwich. "I started counting it and when I got to $500, I stopped and just put it back in the envelope, closed the envelope, put the sandwich back the way I got it and just slid it to the side until the officer got here," she told WSB-TV.

Officers from the Jackson (Ga.) Police Department investigated, and discovered that someone at KFC had mistakenly placed the restaurant's daily bank deposit in the bag with Oliver's to-go order. "Not only did Mrs. Oliver do the right thing, but she saved the manager's job," the department wrote on Facebook. "Mrs. Oliver thank you for reminding us that we have amazing [c]itizens in Jackson and it's people like you that make us great!"

Oliver admitted to WSB-TV that she thought about keeping some of the cash "for a second" — she and her husband are currently facing $2 million in medical bills — but decided to give every last penny back to the restaurant. "If you don't do the right thing it's gonna come back on you," she said. "I mean It wasn't mine. I didn't need to keep it. I'll get mine in the future." (KFC did refund the money she'd spent on her lunch, and gave her a second free meal.)

It's probably difficult to know how often this happens, since it requires both a customer to return the cash and someone involved in the situation to publicize it. But in 2013, a Tennessee couple were accidentally given thousands of dollars with their McDonald's meal. "My husband opened the bag and discovered the money inside," Stacye Terry said, according to CBS News. "He said, 'You are not going to believe this.' Sure enough, it was their bank deposit money."

The bank deposit had been placed inside a McDonald's bag — pro tip, maybe don't do that — and was mistakenly handed out the drive-thru window. A McDonald's employee realized what had happened and followed the Terrys to their home to collect the cash.

"We are grateful for this customer and the action they took upon realizing our error," the owner of that McDonald's location said in a statement. "We are looking into why this mistake happened, but what is most important to us is knowing that we are part [of] a community with the values that were evidenced by this person's actions."

Who knew that every trip to your favorite fast food restaurant could give you the chance to be a local hero?

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