Mall Security Guard Shows Some Real Christmas Spirit

Posted: December 15, 2011 in WBOW, Weird News

What a great story from The Billings Gazette.  Whenever you think the world is filled with only bad people, you see stories like this.


BILLINGS (AP) — Carrie McNeese figured most of her Christmas shopping money was long gone, probably picked up and pocketed by a stranger at Rimrock Mall.

Inside the envelope was $300, a few receipts and a list of her grandchildren’s clothing sizes, but no contact information or even McNeese’s name.

So when Reggie Anderson, loss prevention supervisor at the mall’s JC Penney department store, called nearly two weeks later saying he had the envelope, contents intact, she was dumbfounded.

“I was just speechless, I didn’t know what to say,” McNeese said. “That’s something you don’t ever expect to happen. It’s like a Christmas story.”

McNeese, a Billings real estate broker and owner of McNeese McNeese Real Estate Brokers, had spent the morning hours of Nov. 25 — Black Friday — shopping for her four children, their spouses and 11 grandchildren.

She had an envelope, containing the $500 she had to shop for nearly 20 people, tucked into her back pocket because she doesn’t carry a purse. Later in the morning, McNeese left JC Penney, arms loaded with bags of gifts and the envelope $200 lighter, and drove off.

A few blocks away, McNeese noticed the envelope was missing and returned to the store. She searched the store, asked employees and spent two hours scouring the mall’s parking lot, but with no luck.

“You lose your Christmas money, no matter how much it is, and you’re just sick to your stomach,” she said. “I was just so down about it.”

Not long after McNeese left the store, an employee there found the envelope and turned it over to Anderson. But with no name or other identifying information inside, he wasn’t sure how to get it back to her.

“I felt bad because I knew this was somebody’s Christmas money,” he said. “I know I’d be pretty bummed if I were in that situation.”

So Anderson took a look at the store’s surveillance footage and was able to pick out McNeese as the woman who had asked about the lost envelope.

Inside, he found the money and receipts, as well as the small sticky note with the kids’ sizes and first names. At the top of the note was a logo for Stewart Title Co. in Billings.

“We thought, ‘Maybe she does business there, let’s give them a call,’ ” Anderson said.

He called Stewart Title and read the kids’ names off to the woman at the other end of the line. She didn’t recognize them, so Anderson emailed her a still photo of the woman from the security cameras.

The woman immediately recognized McNeese — who works with the company regularly through her brokerage business — and gave her number to Anderson.

“We usually do security and catch shoplifters,” Anderson said. “But this was a little detective work to help somebody out. We have the tools and the technology, and it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

McNeese said that when Anderson called her Dec. 7 to let her know he had the envelope, she didn’t believe it at first. But after he described its contents, she was elated.

She said she can’t thank Anderson and JC Penney enough for their efforts to track her down. Both of them credited the incident to staff training at JC Penney and policies that put an emphasis on customer service.

“It just touches me, that they would pick one thing out of everything like that, a lost envelope, and take the time to track me down,” McNeese said. “It’s not even about the money. It’s the fact that it happened the way it happened.

“Sometimes you just run into people that still have a heart and still have compassion. Call it the Christmas spirit or call it karma.”


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