Fort Bragg Cyclists Discover $4,000 on a Rural Roadway and Help Reunite Riches with Rightful Owner

Lap full of loot [Image provided by Philip Zwerling]

Lap full of loot [Image provided by Philip Zwerling]

A group of Fort Bragg cyclists who affectionately call themselves the SOBs (Seniors on Bikes) were cycling Sherwood Road when they came upon a surprising sight: dozens of $100 bills littering the rural roadway. What followed was a tale of curiosity, investigation, and reunion when the SOBs played detective, helping a working man rediscover his lost nest-egg.

Philip Zwerling, a member of Fort Bragg’s Seniors on Bikes, said he and four compatriots headed out Sunday morning, September 7, for Glen Blair’s geological oddity, the mud pots. Susan, the lead cyclist, made a surprising U-Turn mid-ride, hopped off her bike, and “triumphantly held up a crisp new $100 bill she’d spotted on the side of the road,” Zwerling told us. “With some chagrin that the rest of us had missed this find, we graciously congratulated her on her good luck and continued our ride,” Zwerling said

Zwerling explained Susan’s lucky find soon became a windfall when “[a] few moments later and not more than 200 yards further on, around a turn, we stopped, awestruck by the sight of $100 bills everywhere!”

Zwerling described he and his companions “scampering around gathering up bills from the blacktop” finding “40 new $100 bills and a few old singles.” In their canvassing, an “assortment of bank cards, insurance cards, and a driver’s license” were also located. As the assemblage of SOBs inventoried their findings, Zwerling said they could not help but wonder, “Could it be drug money? Who else carried so much cash? How in the world did it end up scattered on the road?”

Tucking the findings into the spandex pockets of cyclist-wear, the contingent continued on to the “mini mud volcanos of Glen Blair.” As the SOBs walked amongst the mud-pots, Zwerling said they individually considered the fate of their newfound fortune: “$4,000 split 5 ways? A $100 bill to each of us as a finder’s fee? Take the wallet and the money, or just the wallet, to the police station?”

Upon return from the ride, the SOBs gathered at Susan’s to share a lunch where Zwerling said, they “examined the found wallet more closely.” They discovered the driver’s license belonged to a Eureka, California man who they imagined was a “drug dealer briefly visiting in Fort Bragg for a sale.” To further investigate this “felonious character,” Zwerling said the SOBs “played detective” and surprisingly found Pam, one of the SOBs, had a mutual friend with the imagined fiend on Facebook.

Pam proceeded to contact this mutual friend about the roadside discovery and found that the concocted El Chapo was, in fact, “a working stiff and not a drug dealer at all.” The mutual friend provided Pam a phone number, and within moments the SOBs made contact with him.
Zwerling said it “turns out he had had the cash in hand to buy a trailer to live in while he worked construction in Chico.”

Zwerling characterized connecting with the young man via Facebook “as astonishing as finding the money on the road in the first place.” A mere two hours after contacting the young man, Zwerling said he was “at Susan’s house to collect his loot and his wallet,” where the SOBs found him “relieved, happy, and grateful.”

The young man from Eureka relished the SOBs with a tale of poor placement, leaving his wallet on the back of his flatbed truck, not realizing its absence until arriving in Ukiah, two hours down the road. Zwerling surmised, “We must have ridden by just a few minutes after his wallet went flying into the road, and the wind scattered its contents.”

Zwerling said the young man stayed at Susan’s and talked briefly and, upon leaving, hugged her, said goodbye, and as he walked toward his truck, “he turned back and said ‘bless you.’” Zwerling described the departure as “A lovely and fitting end to a very unusual day.”



  • Well done SOB’s, well done.

  • What would they have done had their investigation revealed that the person had been el Chapo?

    Kept the money?

    Would the knowledge that the rightful owner was a criminal have let them sleep better if they had kept the money?

    Right is right regardless of who you are doing right by.

    That said, I’d have donated the money in the name of said dirtbag to a worthy charitable foundation.

    Glad it belonged to a decent person and they did the right thing though.

    • Good reminder to “good” people that cash is still legal. Is somebody who grew $4,000 worth of weed worse than the pushers of all the credit cards? How much did they scam off Americans in the time it took to return that cash?

  • A lovely written story.

  • got it before it burned up

  • Great story! Good people! I bet that guy triple- checks himself for awhile. He got very lucky this time. Good people in the right place at the right time….

  • Great work by great people! Long may you ride.

  • Hope they still all got a finders fee for returning, most people would have kept that amount of money.

    • I don’t think so, I know people who have done this and more. I found a 26 year old man’s bankbag of cash that somehow came out of his backpack at my work. He had saved his earnings for 10 years and I recognized him when he returned. I had taken the loot to the police by then. They told him my name and where i worked and about a month later a large box of Omaha Steaks and Harry and David Pears were sent to me at work. He also wrote a nice thank you letter. Since then I have had my wallet returned to me both times I lost it, intact. A jogger found my wallet at the end of my driveway and he refused to take a finders fee because, as he put it, “I’d have been jogging by no matter what, you worked for that money, not me.” I had a big orange tree in the yard and I told him to come by anytime and pick some. The reward for being a good person is being a good person.

  • 🕯🌳Good read in such bad time,thank you Matt for sharing.

  • What a wonderful story. Kudo’s to these bike riders (SOB’s) I am so glad to Read good stories like this. We could use more of these stories to brighten our days in all the things that are going on in the World.

  • SOB’s is such a fitting name for a group of cyclists.

    • After reading about this group of cyclists giving back $4k, that’s all you can say? Sad.

      Go stir things up elsewhere.

  • Ah, the SOBs were tempted, but did not fall. Temptation resisted makes the taste of morality sweeter. Well done, you wheel whompers.

  • SOB’s you made a lot of people happier today with your story, not just the owners of the cash! Good job!!

  • “So shines a good deed, in a weary world”..
    Bravo good brethren, we all need a story like that right now.

  • What the story failed to include was how much of the money that fell off the truck had been recovered? I’m curious if the $4K was most, half of, or just a fraction of what was lost?


  • $4000 would not fit comfortably in most wallets (maybe that’s why it wasn’t in his pocket?). Cool story.

    • If I had $4,000 cash, I would not be casual and leave it in a flatbed truck. This guy was very lucky to get his money back, lesson learned.

  • Y’all some good SOB’s for doing the honorable thing !

  • SOB you help me keep the faith for mankind. Thank you.

  • What a great story. Thank you SOBs for the great feelings, and I am sure Kim had a lot of fun with your name.

  • Pingback: Cyclists find wallet and $4,000 in $100 bills that fell from man's truck -

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