Traveler returns $10K in lost gambling earnings

Mitch Gilbert found two envelopes with a combined $10,000 at the airport in Las Vegas.

Story highlights

  • Mitch Gilbert found two envelopes, each containing $5,000, at Las Vegas airport
  • He waited for someone to come looking for it, and checked back two weeks later
  • He recently returned the money to an El Paso, Texas, man who had lost it
  • "I wanted to show my kids the right thing to do," the Colorado man says
Odds are a lot of people who find gambling winnings stuffed into two envelopes would pocket the cash and move on.
Not Mitch Gilbert.
"Some people thought I was crazy to give it back," the Greenwood Village, Colorado, real estate businessman, told CNN on Tuesday. "I had to give it back. It wasn't my money to start with."
"It" was $10,000 held in two sealed Caesars Palace envelopes and left December 6 by a passenger at the airport in Las Vegas.
Gilbert said he had an inkling the envelopes carried money, but he hesitated to give it to someone he saw a few feet away because he wasn't sure the person was the rightful owner.
Gilbert waited about 40 minutes for someone to come searching for the money. He flew home with the envelopes, and found they each held $5,000 in cash.
Gilbert said he called McCarran International Airport and was told it could not put third parties together. He vowed to follow up and about two weeks later was told an El Paso, Texas, man had reported losing the money.
KUSA reached Ignacio Marquez, who said he dropped the envelopes as he was running to catch a flight.
"Relief is an understatement. Cash money is very difficult to get back. I'm very appreciative to Mitch and his family. You do not find people like this," Marquez said.
McCarran International Airport released a statement to CNN thanking Gilbert, who got the cash to Marquez late last week.
"We appreciate Mr. Gilbert's honesty and willingness to set a great example for others, and we are pleased our Lost and Found staff was able to assist in his efforts to track down the money's owner," the statement said.
Gilbert, who won some money of his own at Vegas, told KUSA he would want someone to do the same thing for him, even if the cash could go toward a mountain of bills.
"I wanted to show my kids the right thing to do," he said.