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RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – A Florida man’s diligence and honesty helped a customer recover $20,000 that was accidentally thrown into the trash.

James Stratford, of Riviera Beach, who runs a car wash and wax business, saved the day for local businessman Russell Mir. Stratford helped find three money bags that had been accidentally thrown away, WPTV reported.

“He asked me to clean the truck, so before he got to the truck I said, ‘Hey, whatever you want, you take with you. Whatever is in here, goes in the trash,” Stratford, who owns My 5 Mobile Detailing, told the television station. “He said, ‘OK, no problem.’”


Several hours later, Stratford received a frantic call from Mir, telling him he had lost some money.

“(I said), ‘What kind of money you talking about? ‘So, he said ‘$20,000,’ and I jumped. I jumped straight to my feet,” Stratford told WPTV.

Mir, who owns several gas stations and convenience stores in Palm Beach County, was going to deposit the cash but forgot about the three bags full of money under the passenger seat, the television station reported.

“I almost had a heart attack, to be honest,” Mir told WPTV. “I could not pay my employees. I couldn’t keep the door open. I don’t know what I would do.”

Stratford directed Mir to a dumpster where he typically throws away trash bags, and the businessman was able to find one of the money bags, the television story reported.

The other two bags were missing, but Stratford searched in several places before finding them in a garbage can near the dumpster.

Stratford, a father of five, said helping Mir find the money was the right thing to do.

“You gotta plant the seeds how you want it to grow. All my life I’ve been in the streets, in and out of prison, so I’m tired of that,” Stratford told WPTV. “The new me says be honest and give it back, and that’s what I did.”

Mir said he was able to recover all of the money.

“Not a single bill was missing. I almost cried right away. I almost cried,” Mir told the television station. “God is watching us, and as much as I like to see, I hope our community gets better. Honesty is very important nowadays.”

Mir rewarded Stratford by giving him and his family one year of unlimited soda and Slurpees at his convenience stores, or anything at his gasoline stations, WPTV reported.