Dave Naylor almost swept seven grand into a dustbin.
Making evening rounds at dusk on a Saturday night in July, the West Jordan urban forester was picking up garbage from a men's restroom at Veterans Memorial Park when he found eight envelopes. No names. No stamps. Just plain white envelopes. He eventually thought better of tossing them out and set them aside while he finished his duties. It wasn't until a fellow employee arrived that he decided to open one of them.
Then came the daydreams. The envelope was full of $100 bills, and in holding the others up to the light, Naylor and his colleague discovered that six others were also stuffed full of high-denomination bills each envelope worth a grand. One envelope was empty. Naylor, 37, is married with two children a daughter, 14, and a son, 2 and has another child due in December. Between his job with the city, a private landscaping business and his role as an LDS Young Men leader, he estimates that he works about 80 hours a week. He could use seven grand. For all he knew, he had found drug money.
"But what you know is right outweighs all the dreams," Naylor said.
Instead of pocketing the cash, he called his supervisor following protocol for lost items and turned in the money to the West Jordan Police Department the following morning. He held out hope it would go unclaimed and be returned to him, but the following Monday a man called the city to inquire about the envelopes. He was referred to police, given his money and Naylor's work number and called to give his thanks (but not a reward).
"After he called me, it left my mind more at peace," said Naylor. Although slightly sore that he wouldn't be $7,000 richer, he said he was relieved that his family was safe from whatever potentially shady customer had left the cash in the first place. He said the claimant told him he was passing through town during a move and that the money was very important to his family.
"It blows me away," said Tim Peters, West Jordan Public Services manager, who contacted The Tribune Wednesday about the story. "It was 7,000 bucks in cash and he was by himself. Pretty amazing guy to begin with, and just a totally amazing story in my mind."
Naylor said his values are a result of his religion and his blue-collar childhood living on a 30-acre alfalfa and cattle farm in West Jordan. He said he survived Hodgkin's disease at 15 and determined that he would make the most of every extra day God gave him. He's not wealthy and rarely gets a moment's rest but said, "I'm happy. Life's good."