As one of the great thinkers of our time, Justin Timberlake, once said, “What goes around, goes around, goes around, comes all the way back around.” This song’s message must have resonated with a German man who recently stumbled upon a very large check made out to Haribo, global confectionery and makers of the famous Goldbears gummy bears.
On the platform of a Frankfurt train station, the lucky man just happened to find a check in the amount of 4,631,538.80 euros—or about $4.8 million. It was made out to Haribo by a German supermarket chain.
“There was such a large sum on it that I couldn’t even pronounce it,” the man told German newspaper Bild.
Since the check was clearly made out to Haribo, it would have been a bit difficult for the man to make off with the money, Bonnie and Clyde–style. So unless he wanted a multi-million-euro check to hang on his vision board, the “finders keepers” rule was essentially null and void. With Timberlake’s words surely echoing in his head, the man decided to do the honorable thing and return the check to its rightful owner.
As explained by Today, a lawyer for Haribo replied to the man with a request to destroy the check, which he did. Since people have been known to offer fabulous sums for the safe return of their missing dogs or lost wallets, a large company like Haribo would surely offer the good samaritan a reward for his noble act. And they did—just not much of one.
A few days later, Bild reports, the man received a package containing... six regular-sized bags of Haribo products. The best gift ever for a 6-year-old child, but a tad underwhelming for a 38-year-old adult, especially considering the difference in value between the item he found and the bounty he received. A bag of Haribo gummy bears goes for $3 at my local bodega, making this reward worth approximately $18. Not exactly a fair trade.
The good samaritan apparently agrees with that assessment. “I thought that was a bit cheap,” he told Bild.
Haribo defended itself in a statement to Bild. “It was our standard package, which we send as a thank you,” a representative for the brand explained. Ah, capitalism!
While half a dozen bags of candy might have felt like an insufficient reward, many commenters point out that it’s still better than nothing. Unless you’re an Albanese devotee and can never go back to Haribo after tasting the superior gummy bear.