By Tim Eberly
Dec. 25 is still weeks away but Dianne Anderson already has the Christmas spirit.
Wrapping up a shopping spree at Kmart on Sunday, Anderson started to walk toward the store's exit. On the floor near the empty shopping carts, she spotted an unlabeled envelope.
Further inspection revealed a total of $546 inside $535 of it local "Christmas Cash." Receipts from three stores were also in the envelope, but no evidence of who owned the money.
So Anderson placed an advertisement in the Havre Daily News on Wednesday, searching for the rightful owner. Because Kathryne Pike doesn't subscribe to the publication, she didn't see the ad.
Pike, however, figured she'd lost the money before she left the store. "I didn't put my envelope in my pocket and I dropped it," Pike said Thursday.
She called the Hill County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday evening. A sheriff's dispatcher told Pike about the ad and called the phone number listed in the newspaper.
Pike described the contents of the envelope to Anderson including the origins of the receipts and the Christmas Cash fake money provided by the Chamber of Commerce through an interest-free loan program proving that the envelope belonged to her. On Thursday morning, Pike picked up the currency from Anderson's workplace, a local ophthalmologist's office.
"She was very, very excited," said Anderson, 51. "She's very happy. She was crying."
To further express her gratitude, Pike offered to give Anderson a gift for her efforts.
"She wanted to give me something," Anderson said. "But I told her she owed me nothing. I told her, Merry Christmas.' "
Though briefly lost, the Chrismas spirit has returned to Pike's household.
"That is a beautiful lady," Pike said. "She had the opportunity to use it if she wanted to. There was nothing to identify it. And she went to the trouble of trying to find me. She is a wonderful person, and that's all I can say."