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Franklin Square dry cleaner returns $2,000 to customer

Danny Freeman has owned Dogwood Cleaners in Franklin

Danny Freeman has owned Dogwood Cleaners in Franklin Square for 44 years. (July 1, 2010) Photo Credit: Sally Morrow

A do-gooding dry cleaner in Franklin Square netted his client $2,000 in cash when he fished the forgotten money out of a customer's garments and returned it to the grateful patron.

Dogwood Cleaners owner Danny Freeman said he found the stash in a suit belonging to a local hairdresser as he prepared a load of clothing around 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Freeman, 68, was checking the pockets of Frank Mannino's jacket when he reached into the lining and found the cash.

Though he has recovered plenty of valuables during his 44 years in business - a gold and diamond necklace here, $800 there - Freeman had never stumbled upon so much cash at once.

Luckily for Mannino, Freeman gave the goods back in each case, and this time was no different.

Mannino, unaware that he was down $2,000, soon got a call at his salon, My Place Haircutters in West Hempstead. It was Freeman, his dry cleaner for more than five years.

"I said, 'Mr. Frank, you want to make me rich? You missing money?' " Freeman recalled.

Mannino remembered Freeman's voice booming: " 'Frank! You left the money!' "

"That was a nice thing he did," said Mannino, 66, a salon owner for 35 years whose stash was proceeds from his store. "Most people wouldn't give it back. He could've said nothing, for that matter."

Wanting to give thanks to a fellow small-business owner, Mannino offered Freeman a reward. But Freeman said all he wanted was for Mannino to spread the word to his clients about Freeman's good deed. (Mannino got his Good Samaritan a gift certificate to a restaurant anyway.)

Freeman, who calls himself a CPA - because he does cleaning, pressing and alterations - comes from a family of tailors.

His parents, both Jewish, fled Poland in 1939 to escape Nazi persecution. When Freeman was growing up in Israel, his father's family taught him to sew on an antique machine, and his uncle eventually sponsored his visa to the United States in 1963.

His upbringing in a tight-knit community taught him the values he practices today, he said. "That's how I was raised," he said. His wife of 45 years, Jo-Ann Freeman, 65, said she's proud of her husband's actions. "Some people might say, 'Things are bad. I might as well take the money,' " she said. "Danny could never do that."

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