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Worker returns $9K found inside dryer at Miriam Hospital

WJAR

When you hear of “money laundering,” you don't usually think of it in the literal sense.

But at Miriam Hospital, a patient's large sum of cash was found and returned by a worker who was doing the laundry.

It probably gets a little monotonous keeping an eye on the spin and fluff cycles for Steve Ledo. He's a laundry attendant for patient's clothes at the Providence hospital.

But he's in tune when something's not quite right.

So, one day earlier this summer when he walked to the laundry room, he knew to investigate an opened dryer door.

“That's why the door usually opens up -- it'll come ajar,” Ledo said when questioned by a group of reporters. “There'll be enough force in there to push that door open.”

Ledo said while patients leave stuff at the hospital all the time, this was an extraordinary case.

“There might have been seven or eight hundred dollar bills in there,” Ledo said, noting that the bills were wrapped up just like they came from a bank, with a paper ring around it.

Ledo called his supervisor. There was more. They collected and counted more than $9,000.

“My number one thing was to not leave it alone,” Ledo said. “I mean, I think most people are honest, but you just never know. There were hundreds, fifties, a lot of twenties, and fives and ones.”

Ledo said the thought of pocketing the money never really crossed his mind.

“Hey, I'm 62. I'm only a few years away from retirement,” he said. “But, no. It would have helped, but no. It's somebody else’s hard-earned money. You always assume: it's not mine.”

The money was presented back to the unnamed (for privacy reasons) mature adult female who's since been discharged.

“The look on her face was priceless,” Joe Gordon-Rezner, a nurse manager at Miriam who was part of the return team, said, adding that the woman had an expression of “excitement and joy, a relief.”

Leedo is getting honored at an awards presentation, with a gift for his integrity. No cash, though.

“He did the right thing,” Sandra Chen, who is the vice president of Support Services at Miriam, said. “Yeah, and we are very proud of him, and I thought this is a great story that people need to know.”

Ledo recalls his childhood foundation, as he had parents who impressed upon him the importance of doing the right thing.

“You're brought up like that,” he said. “There was no ‘ands, ifs, or buts’ about it. You want to be treated that way, you treat other people that way.”

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