John Briggs

Gideon Bradshaw/Observer-Reporter

John Briggs stands in the offices of the Observer-Reporter in Washington.

Plenty of people lose hats and coffee mugs by setting them on the roofs of their cars and forgetting about them before driving off.

But last week, Washington resident John Briggs helped a stranger who evidently lost something of much greater value that way.

Briggs, an Observer-Reporter single copy clerk, was making his rounds to collect unsold newspapers and payments from businesses whose accounts he handles. Sometime before 11 a.m. Feb. 5, he said, he was at the Sunoco station in South Fayette Township near the Bridgeville exit of Interstate 79.

Someone who had just left the gas station had misplaced a bag of cash.

“Long story short, one of the clerks came in (and said), ‘Did anybody find a bag?’” Briggs recalled. “I was joking with her, ‘Let’s take the money and run.’”

The story he heard was this person had gotten out of her car and set the bag on the roof. She apparently returned to her car without putting it back inside the vehicle, he said.

Briggs finished up his business. As he was getting ready to drive off, he spotted a bag that looked like the ones he uses for work. He picked it up and realized it was not one of his. He counted $600 in cash when he opened it up.

“I went back inside and asked them what type of bag was missing, hoping it was a backpack,” he said. “They called whoever it belonged to, and they told them it was a blue money bag.”

Briggs, left the bag at the store. He never met the person he recovered the cash for. The caller told a gas station employee the money was from fees that were collected for an office retreat of some kind.

“It wouldn’t have felt right, knowing what I knew at the time,” Briggs said.

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