Man returns money, restores bartender’s faith in humanity |

Man returns money, restores bartender’s faith in humanity

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Ken Hutchison dug into his pocket for the hundreds of dollars he was about to use to buy a vacuum. He didn’t trust people anymore, but he needed the appliance. Maybe he was spending too much. Maybe he should go somewhere else. He wasn’t sure.

But the $960 he thought he had wasn’t there. He checked all his pockets. He looked in his car. He searched around the Irwin Union Bank parking lot on College Parkway where he withdrew the money.


When he we went inside the bank, a supervisor noticed how upset he was.

“She says, ‘What’s wrong?’ And I say, ‘I just lost a thousand dollars!'”

But the woman told him it was OK and that the bank had the money. A man, Dominic Martinelli, found the money scattered all over the parking lot and brought it inside.

Hutchison, a bartender for more than 35 years, was amazed. He called Martinelli later that July 31 to tell him how he changed his life.

“I said, ‘Dominic, this is an incredible thing. I’m not all that happy with the human race as it is.'”

Then he offered him money as a reward.

It wouldn’t be right, Martinelli told him.

“You’re an amazing man,” Hutchison said. “You’re an amazing man.'”

Martinelli, a 37-year-old Web programmer, said the reason he returned the money was because it wasn’t his.

“I just kind of got out of my car and saw this money on the ground and a couple (of dollars) floating in the wind and I grabbed everything and I counted it and I was like, ‘Oh my God. That’s got to be somebody’s paycheck.'”

“It’s just not mine,” he said, “so, you know, that’s kind of how that went.”

Nancy Bergan, the bank supervisor, said Martinelli wasn’t trying to get special recognition when he brought in the money. She described him as an “average nice guy.”

“He said, ‘Somebody’s going to be missing this’ and ‘I found it in the parking lot.'”

During the one short conversation they had, Martinelli was quiet and casual, Hutchison said. He said what Martinelli did and how he acted inspired him.

“I love dogs and cats and the animals in the world,” he said. “But human beings, every time I turn around, you know, they … “

He trailed off.

Martinelli said he wasn’t sure what to think about the effect he had on Hutchison.

“I don’t know if I have a whole lot of faith in humanity,” he said. “I just know I have a whole lot of faith in God.”

Hutchison said he hopes to talk to Martinelli again but is happy he got to speak with him at least once.

“I said, ‘Today you gave me a spark. You lit my life up.'”

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.