04-12 kroger-01

Kroger's Courtesy Clerk Andrea Nicholson, and Assistant Manager Joseph Fochtman.

Most people have felt that sinking feeling that follows the careless loss of a cell phone, keys, or a wallet that seems to hold the contents of their entire life.

If it happens at Kroger's in Palestine, however, the chances of getting it back are good, thanks to employees like Andrea Nicholson.

“I find wallets in buggies, probably about every other week,” Nicholson, 53, told the Herald-Press Thursday. “I just bring the items to the front desk. We're trained not to go through them; it's none of our business.”

Despite training, a lost wallet, with cash bulging from its seams and no witnesses, would tempt most people, even if they're basically honest.

Not Nicholson, who had such an opportunity Wednesday morning.

“That's not how I was raised,” Nicholson, who will celebrate 30 years with Kroger's April 24 said. “My adoptive parents, Joyde and Kathleen Nicholson, taught my brother, sister, and me to be honest.”

Nicholson turned the wallet in to management and went straight back to work – without peeking at the contents. She said she has no idea how much money was in the wallet, and doesn't care.

“There are certain employees you wish you could clone,” Assistant Manager Joseph Fochtman told the Herald-Press. “Andrea is one of those people. She's friendly, always smiling, and ready to help anyone.”

The wallet's owner was contacted for comment, but preferred to remain anonymous.

Fochtman, who has worked with Nicholson for four years, said all employees are trained to return lost valuables. He can always count on Nicholson to deliver.

Why? Because it's the right thing to do, Nicholson said.

“I wish I had 100 like her,” Fochtman said.

Nicholson, who sings in the First Christian Church Choir and the Palestine Community Choir, doesn't think honesty is anything to brag about.

“I believe most everyone would do the same thing,” she said.