Finders keepers? Not for this Fort Lauderdale airport janitor

The Miami HeraldJanuary 10, 2013 

So what would you do if you came across an iPad and $13,000 in cash?

For Patrick Morgan, who earns $625 a week cleaning up at Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport, it was a no-brainer: Turn it in.

"That's the kind of person I am, and that's the kind of person they expect of me at work," said Morgan, 50, who lives in Plantation.

Morgan was walking through the airport about 1 a.m. Dec. 19 looking for garbage bags and cleaning supplies. Along the way, inside a Tiki bar, he found the iPad -- with an envelope full of cash tucked inside its case.

He didn't even stop to count the money.

Morgan headed straight to the Broward Sheriff's Office substation at the airport -- where he takes all the items he finds while he's making his cleaning rounds.

A little later, he came across a man on his way home after a Las Vegas trip, frantically searching for an iPad.

"I said, 'Don't worry, it's OK. We have it,'" Morgan said.

The man, who did not give police his name, collected his belongings.

"What [Morgan] did finding the money and turning it in is not the story," said Morgan's boss, Mark Klein, senior vice president of Sunshine Cleaning Systems. "The story is what he did after."

The man gave Morgan a $60 tip, which Morgan hesitated to accept.

"The bottom line: I wasn't looking for anything," Morgan said. He just felt good knowing the man was able to claim his iPad.

Within minutes, Morgan had given $40 to Laura, a homeless woman who spends her nights at the airport, for a bus pass.

"Homeless people come all the time, and I always look out for them," he explained.

The remaining $20 he gave to a fellow airport employee in need.

"It gives you goose bumps to know that you have employees and business partners who are so honest and have the integrity that he has," Klein said.

For his honesty and integrity, Morgan was honored Wednesday by the Broward County Aviation Department and Sunshine Cleaning Systems with an extra week's pay.

Tears rolled down Morgan's face as he heard his story being told. The crowd of 50 -- who didn't know he had given away the $60 tip -- applauded.

"He is an example that it's always good to do the honorable thing," said Ismael Bonilla, deputy director of the Broward County Aviation Department. "I've always thought we should have more people like him."

This time, Morgan plans to deposit the check in the bank. But he already knows how he's going to spend part of it: Buying Laura another bus pass.

"A couple of days ago she told me she needed another bus pass," he said. "So I have to get one for her."

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