Sanitation workers help mom find trashed tuition

August 23, 2013 8:13:10 PM PDT
There was a valiant recovery by New York's strongest.

A woman accidentally threw away thousands of dollars meant to pay for her daughter's college tuition.

The Queens mom has her money back, thanks to some New York City sanitation workers.

"I had my phone, my keys, another bag," said Melissa Gallagher, mother.

Harried working mother of two Melissa Gallagher was rushing from home to her double parked car when she stopped at the garbage can on her corner to throw out a water bottle.

"And it must've just slipped off my wrist," Gallagher said.

Her little Coach wristlet pocketbook, had slipped off into the trash, but this one carried treasure!

"$4,000," Gallagher said.

She was carrying the cash to make a bank deposit to cover her daughter Clarissa's tuition, a basketball player and Junior at SUNY Old Westbury. She called her mom to make sure the money went through.

"She called and said, 'My schedule got dropped,' and I said, 'Don't worry I just left the money at home,'" Gallagher said.

But when she couldn't find the purse, Melissa knew right away.

"I couldn't breathe," Gallagher said.

The corner can had been emptied along with all the others on Myrtle Avenue, so she frantically called the Department of Sanitation.

"They told me 18 trucks, only one hadn't dumped," Gallagher said.

The city collects roughly 10,500 tons of refuse a day, rolling 2,230 collection trucks continuously, but DSNY welcomed her to go through the garbage of that truck on her route the next day.

A supervisor had the haul laid out at the Waste Management facility in Maspeth, and the determined mom started digging.

"I was getting physically ill from the stench," Gallagher said.

Several helpful sanitation workers assisted in the search, but it was Melissa herself, who spotted the designer pouch.

"I opened it up, all the cash was inside," Gallagher said.

The cash was wet and smelly but all $4,000 was still inside.

"I am so grateful," Gallagher said.

The first thing she wanted to do was give a reward, but the supervisor said it wasn't allowed and a simple letter would go a long way. So here's a shout out to some of New York's strongest, Mrs. Gallagher is grateful.