Sarah Robertson with her children Isobel, 10, Alec, 8, and James, 5, and family friend Enrique Grobler, 9 (at left). Ms Robertson found more than $3000 which she collected in her hat.
Sarah Robertson with her children Isobel, 10, Alec, 8, and James, 5, and family friend Enrique Grobler, 9 (at left). Ms Robertson found more than $3000 which she collected in her hat. Kate O’Neill

Pile of notes found beside road

A WOMAN who found more than $3000 by the side of the road at Tyagarah has been praised for returning the cash to its owner.

Sydney-based lawyer Sarah Robertson was driving to Mullumbimby on Tuesday with her husband, three children and a family friend, when she saw what looked like $50 notes on the side of the Pacific Highway, just past the Tyagarah rest stop.

“It was like it had been raining money,” said Ms Robertson, who is on holiday in the area.

She jumped out of her car and grabbed as much cash as she could, storing it in her hat before finding a wallet.

With the help of some excited children, they counted what they had picked up, which came to $3155.

On their way to Mullumbimby police station to hand in the cash, Ms Robertson found the owner’s business card and gave him a phone call.

The wallet belonged to Des Merry, a 61-year-old concreter from Loganlea, who was only 10 minutes further up the highway and sick with worry.

He was on his way home from a job in Sydney and stopped for a break, leaving his wallet on the back of his truck when he drove off.

“I was so upset about it,” Mr Merry said. “I never, ever thought I’d get it back.”

As soon as he realised his loss, Mr Merry telephoned his wife Susan in Queensland.

“He’s got a heart problem and I thought he was going to have a heart attack. He said he was feeling sick and having palpitations,” Mrs Merry said.

Her husband had been out of work since before Christmas and had travelled to Sydney for two weeks for a job.

She cannot work due to a disability and losing the $3000 in earnings would have left them in dire straits.

It was with a huge sense of relief that Mr Merry received the call from Ms Robertson and arranged to meet at local landmark Uncle Tom’s Pies.

“As soon as I saw her I kissed her, even though I didn’t know her from a bar of soap,” Mr Merry said.

He said he was still in shock when Ms Robertson handed his wallet back and could not express his gratitude enough.

“If anybody else had of found that money it would have been gone,” he said.

“It just goes to show there are still good people left.”

Mr Merry said there were still a couple of hundred dollars missing, but that was in a separate bag, and he expected it had either blown away or someone had picked it up.

As for Ms Robertson, she said she was just happy to help out a stranger.

“The kids wanted to keep the money, of course, so it was a good lesson for them if nothing else. And now I know how important it was to him it’s even better.”


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