The car pulled out of the ATM lane next to the one Becky Wright was waiting in after work.
The Winthrop University graduate needed to make a deposit. Like everybody in life – and apparently that car a lane over – she was in a hurry.
So, after a Wednesday of helping people as a social worker at the York County Council on Aging, Wright backed up and pulled into the empty lane of the next ATM at a Wells Fargo in Rock Hill.
There, she got the shock of her life.
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“There was a whole lot of bills” Wright said. “I counted it, and it was $300. To me – and just about anybody I know – $300 is a lot of money.”
The money was right there in the ATM slot, for the taking.
Three hundred bucks pays a student loan for a month. It would put a dent in any mortgage. Put 15 twenties in a purse, when it is 99 degrees in Rock Hill in late July, and the sand and ocean and beach begin calling.
Not for Becky Wright.
“Somebody out there might not be able to eat without that money, might lose a house or car,” Wright said. “They might have kids.”
Wright immediately called the Rock Hill police.
She pulled over in the lot and called her coworker, Chassidy James, too. She waited a few minutes for the officer, the money in her lap. The bills were crisp and fresh.
“Someone’s life,” is how Wright described the money. “Somebody worked for that money. They just forgot.”
Wright told the officer that she didn’t get a good look at the car or the driver. She handed over the money to the officer and the officer thanked her for doing what she did. She drove home and remembered.
“That was me one time,” Wright said.
A few years ago, when she worked at the Children’s Attention Home for kids from abusive homes, Wright was out grocery shopping. When she got home, after putting away the bread and milk, she realized she had no purse. She was frantic.
“Everything was in there – my identification, cards, money,” Wright recalled.
That time, somebody – Wright never learned who – found the purse in a grocery cart in the parking lot and turned it in. Wright rushed to the store and her purse was there, intact. Not even a nickel gone.
“I know the relief of someone looking out for me, and I always have believed that you do the right thing when you can,” Wright said. “There are good people in the world, right here in Rock Hill. I know it myself.”
Wendy Duda, the executive director of the council on aging, said no one is surprised that Wright – who has spent the past two decades helping others – tried to help someone who left money at the ATM.
“Becky is a great lady,” Duda said. “She cares for the clients, cares for her co-workers.
“That’s it right there: She cares about people.”
It is not unheard of for people to turn in money or valuables they find, police say, but it does not happen all the time.
This time it did.
Maybe the right person will now know that their money was not dropped in the street or lost, and call the police or contact the bank. Wright even went to Wells Fargo and gave them her information so that through electronic records, maybe video, somehow, the bank might be able to find out who left the money sitting in the tray at the ATM.
One of the bankers told Wright a blessing would come to her, after she did such a rare and selfless deed.
But Wright said she already has had her blessings.
“I hope they find that person and get whoever it was that money,” she said. “That’s all that matters.”
What Becky Wright did this week was to give a blessing back.