MOST TAKE THE ROAD TO RICHES, BUT OTHERS SPURN CASHOther people find money in the street; I find bottled water and cigarettes.
Miami Herald - Thursday, January 9, 1997
by FRANCES ROBLES - Herald Staff Writer
It was Overtown 's version of Pennies from Heaven : quarters and cash from I-95.
Miami firefighter Manny Rodriguez was there trying to quell the chaos after a Brinks truck crashed. Hundreds of people with dollar signs in their eyes went wild around him. Money was everywhere, and folks were dropping on all fours to get some.
He plucked 20s out of trees. He gathered rolls of quarters from the dirt. Bills flew in the air. Nestled in the bushes, Rodriguez found a jackpot: a square white 50-pound bag.
Rodriguez's jaw dropped. A $50,000-a-year firefighter who usually responds to gas spills was working a money spill. And he had just found $330,000. Cash. Currency. Moolah. And he got there a half hour after the crash.
``It was loot , a lot of money,'' said Rodriguez, 33. ``It was very heavy. I didn't even know how much was in there. I gave it to the Brinks guy, and he told me it was about $330,000. I freaked out.''
Why didn't he try to keep it?
This is a practical man: He likes being a firefighter. He could lose the job he has had for nine years. He would get in big trouble and lose his treasure anyway.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
It was a slow day today. Nothing on the calendar so I set out to do a few errands and then stopped by my Starbucks at West Ave. on South Beach.
Went inside and scooped up previously read copies of the Herald and the New York Times and took a table outside.
While reading the paper I spotted a shopping bag from Whole Foods holding what appeared to be trash sitting by the door.
I kept reading the paper for a half hour before going inside to order a Java Chip Frappucino.
And then I watched in amazement as people who had come in after me picked up their orders and sauntered out the door while I stood there like some neglected red-headed stepchild.
Finally I stepped forward and asked where my drink was.
The sheepish barrista immediately knew that she'd screwed up and apologized and offered me a card for a free drink on my next visit while at the same time starting on my drink.
Back outside, I picked up the papers and continued reading.
Soon a light rain started to fall and I retreated to a table under an awning by the door where the Whole Foods shopping bag still stood.
Curious, I looked inside and found a treasure trove.
Inside the Whole Foods bag was a bag from CVS containing a Right Guard deodorant stick and pack of Marlboro Lights. The cigs and the deodorant had been purchased at 2:15pm. Total cost $8.88. He saved 66 cents on the smokes. Paid for with a credit card.
The mystery shopper then walked 4 blocks to the Whole Foods at Alton Road and 10th Street and bought two bottles of Evian Spring Water at 2:30pm. Total $4.98. Credit card used again. (I wondered why someone would care enough about their health to buy overpriced imported water but still smoke cigarettes.)
From Whole Foods our mystery shopper then walked across the street to Starbucks and took a table outside, spending some time and then leaving without their shopping bag.
I sat at the table for another hour or so thinking perhaps that someone would realize they forgot their stuff and come back for it.
No such luck.
My total take for the day: two newspapers, a drink of my choice on my next visit to Starbucks, a pack of Marlboro Lights, a Right Guard deodorant stick and 3 liters of spring water.
Hey, we're in a recession and every little bit helps.
But if you know who who left the shopping bag behind; have them shoot me an email.
In the meantime I continue to keep a close eye on any armored trucks that speed by me.
UPDATE: Rick from SFDB sends me the following screenshot.