When Patty Wesner found herself behind a Brinks armored car on her way to work yesterday morning, her first thought was of a movie-like scenario.
"I was like, 'Oh, a Brinks truck. Wouldn't it be funny if money fell out of it?,'" Wesner, 53, of Greenwich, NY, told ABCNews.com today.
Her second thought was, this is really happening.
As the Brinks truck in front of her hit a bumpy spot on the road in the rural, upstate New York village, its back door flew open and pennies flew out.
Then, the truck hit a second bump and out came a package of paper bills, followed by thousands of loose dollar bills, seemingly flying down from the sky.
"I went, 'Oh my God, that's money,'" she said. "I honked my horn to try to get the truck to stop and then pulled my car over."
What Wesner did next was, for Brinks, a very happy ending to what could have been, for them, a disaster movie.
Wesner gathered as much of the money as she could and then called 911.
"I said, 'You know when you see those Brinks trucks driving in front of you and you think, 'I wonder what would happen if money fell out?' Well that just happened,'" she said of her call to the dispatcher.
"You've got to be kidding me," came the dispatcher's reply.
Within minutes a trooper from the New York State Police, along with two undercover cops, arrived. The trooper, Kevin Saunders, and Wesner walked up and down the road gathering the loose money while other officers worked to locate the Brinks truck.
The truck was located within 10 miles of where the money had spilled after police contacted Brinks and found out where the truck was scheduled to stop next.
The total haul that spilled onto Wesner's windshield came to $11,000, Mark Cepiel, spokesperson for Troop G of the New York State Police, told ABCNews.com. That total was what the Brinks company reported missing meaning all of the money had, improbably, been found, thanks to Wesner.
"I applaud her honesty," Cepiel said. "She did what people are supposed to do and which, as children, we grow and are taught to do. She did the right thing."
Wesner did not receive a reward for her honest actions from the state police, but she did receive a call this morning from a Brinks representative to whom the police had given her name.
The representative informed Wesner the company would be donating $2500 to the Pember Library and Museum in Granville, NY, where she serves as executive director.
"They said how much they appreciated my honesty and that they got all the money back," Wesner said. "And that they'll be sending a check in the next week."