updated 1/2/2008 8:30:40 AM ET 2008-01-02T13:30:40

Reggie Damone just wanted to jot down a phone number when he picked up what he thought was litter on a sidewalk this week. But what he found was an envelope containing a $185,000  check.

Damone, who receives government-issued food stamps for low-income workers and works at a McDonald's fast food restaurant, said he did not think twice about trying to cash it. Instead, the 47-year-old took a bus Monday from his Jewett City home to a bank and returned the check to the niece of the landlord to whom the check was written.

She thanked Damone with a $50 bill.

Damone said that although he knew $185,000 could pay his rent and other bills for a long time, he was never tempted to try to cash it and splurge.

He says he remembered his mother's words: If you take something, you lose three times that amount —and if you do something good, something good comes back to you.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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