LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- When Liz Thomas was shopping at a Las Cruces Walmart on Saturday morning, she had a $900 money order in hand ready to pay rent that she inadvertently dropped in the parking lot.
“The money order wasn’t filled out at all," Thomas explained. "It was free money.”
The Las Cruces mother brought her two daughters for the trip, including her two-year-old, who has transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart disease.
"My youngest was having a reaction to someone's perfume or cologne, so she started coughing and breathing really heavily," Thomas recalled.
The mother said she rushed out of the store to grab her daughter's pump, which removes the mucus from the toddler's airways. She last remembered placing both the $900 money order and its receipt in her hoodie's pocket.
"With all of my youngest’s medical equipment, I didn’t have enough arms to carry a purse, so I just have a wallet," she explained.
After leaving the store, Thomas quickly realized the money order was missing. She returned to the store and searched under dozens of cars in the parking lot outside the Walton Boulevard location.
“I was looking at the inventory of my house seeing what I could sell," she explained. "Instant panic."
Out of desperation, the mother posted to Facebook to ask if anyone in the community had found the money order.
Tiffini Trujillo was scrolling through her feed.
“My step-dad said, 'Guess what we found at Walmart?" recalled Trujillo.
Her step-father and mother, Anthony and Michelle Gonzalez, found the $900 unsigned money order. They gave it to their son Ramon, who returned it to the mother hours after she lost it in the parking lot.
"Growing up, we didn’t always have everything that we wanted to," Trujillo said. "My parents raised four kids. They know the difference that it can make, especially that amount of money.”
"It didn't really hit me until I got home and put it my landlord's money box," Thomas said. “I didn’t have to worry about either choosing between paying rent or buying groceries again."
“I’ve been there where I’ve had to make a decision on what to pay and what not to pay," Trujillo said. "It’s just the right thing to do."