Thanks to the kindness of strangers, a 7-Eleven customer was reunited with his rent money after — unbeknownst to him — a wad of cash spilled out of his pocket Tuesday outside the North Bellmore store.
Off-duty Bellmore firefighters John F. Scalesi and Matt Smith had just left the convenience store on Newbridge Road at about 12:30 p.m. when they found a few hundred dollars in bills swirling in the breeze.
“We started walking to our cars, and there was a whole wad of cash there, like a couple hundred dollars,” Scalesi said, adding, “The wind was blowing it around . . . and I was like ‘holy mackerel,’ so we picked it up, handfuls and handfuls.”
The two, accompanied by Danny Dugan, who works as a landscaper for Smith, returned to the store and handed their discovery over to the owner.
“I said ‘Is this yours?’ and he said, ‘It’s not mine,’ ” Scalesi said. The owner stowed the cash in a bag, and promised to check the outside surveillance cameras to see if he could solve the mystery.
The store referred an inquiry to 7-Eleven corporate headquarters, which did not immediately comment.
Hoping the community’s close-knit character would make the difference, Scalesi turned to Facebook, requesting anyone who had “dropped a lot of cash” at the 7-Eleven to contact the store owner.
“I have a good following around town, everybody knows somebody, to like reach out,” Scalesi said.
“The 7-Eleven guy said there were three people who said they lost the cash,” but the owner’s video proved them wrong, Scalesi said, because it revealed who had actually lost the money.
That turned out to be a man who returned to the store after learning of the Facebook post. He had just cashed a check to pay his rent, and had stopped off at the store to buy a drink.
The customer had not realized the bills had spilled out of his pocket in the parking lot until too late, Scalesi said.
“The owner said [the customer] was very upset and very touched.”