AUBURN -- Auburn police were able to return thousands of dollars in cash and money orders to a man after a woman found them in the road Wednesday.
Jill James had taken a shortcut Wednesday afternoon to avoid road construction while on her way to her business, JC Fit. That put her on Old Airport Road, where she came upon the totally unexpected.
There was a large pile of paper strewn about the two-way country road.
"As I got closer to what I thought was trash on the road, turned out to be dollar bills in $100s, $50s, $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s," James explained. "And then I also found money orders."
So, she got out of her truck.
"First of all, I looked around for cameras thinking I'm being punked, you know? It was weird," she said, laughing.
James started scooping up loads of cash in her arms to get it out of the road. A friend passing by stopped to help.
"It was literally from one side of the road to the other and in through that fence. So there was some in the green area as well," James said.
James first drove the stash to her home, where she and her daughter counted up nearly $16,000, including money orders.
"I immediately thought of my grandmother, who's 93. And I was like, 'This has got to be maybe somebody's life savings,'" she said.
She said the thought of keeping it never crossed her mind.
"I live life by karma," James said. "So, something like this, I wouldn't want bad karma following me. So, I felt like even a $1 bill I wouldn't keep it because it didn't belong to me."
As it turned out, the money was reported lost by a man who does cash transactions for his business. Officials say that man was surprised and grateful that someone so honest turned in the money, which he had put on the tire of his car and forgotten about.
Police say while the act is amazing, it’s not surprising to them.
"Amazing because this community is," said Auburn Police Sgt. Tucker Huey. "I'm proud of it but I'm not shocked by it. Definitely, that's the type of people that call this community home and it's an amazing place to live and work."