There are few things tempting enough to coax drivers on busy freeways to stop and exit their vehicles in the middle of traffic. Good Samaritans looking out for critters on the roadway is understandable.
Otherwise, seeing multiple vehicles stop dead in their tracks in front of you and watching people leave their cars … sounds like something from the apocalypse. It simply doesn’t happen.
Unless there are dollar bills drifting around on the freeway — which is exactly what happened on a Hayward, California, freeway on Feb. 26.
It seems like an utterly foolish idea to throw large quantities of money out onto the roadway, let alone scramble through traffic in a desperate bid to claim some of the cash for yourself, but there it was.
According to a KTVU interview with Officer Manuel Leal of the Hayward CHP, many people called in to inform the police of what was going on. Of course, by the time authorities arrived, traffic had resumed its usual pace and no money was spotted.
There’s video proof to back up those callers’ claims, though. It shows cars stopped in what should’ve been the fastest lanes of traffic on the southbound Highway 880.
Some drivers at least had the foresight to put their emergency flashers on, but then their drivers darted out, leaving their cars behind, some running into nearby lanes to score some cash.
Eventually, it was determined that the $20 bills were dropped by a family on their way back from the funeral of a loved one.
The family wished to remain anonymous, but did reveal they’d left a total of $500 strewn across the freeway in memory of the deceased.
Apparently, as one family member told KTVU, such a stunt is an “Oakland thing.”
Surprisingly, this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened in California — though this other case is a bit different.
Instead of grieving family members, it was criminals on the run in 2009 who decided the easiest way to get rid of the evidence was to chuck it out the window while driving on the I-5 in San Diego.
Of course, throwing large quantities of cash onto the road caused pandemonium, with people exiting their vehicles and scrambling to snap up the wayward bills, which included $100 bills.
According to NBC, cops managed to recover $17,000 and warned people that hanging on to their sudden windfall was not legal. The cash was ill-gotten gains, and was still considered evidence.
Apparently the warning was enough to encourage some members of the public to come forward and relinquish the bills they’d collected, but no doubt others held on to their finds.
Whether it’s well-meaning mourners or criminals, throwing money into rush hour traffic seems like a dangerous idea for everyone involved.
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