Queenstowners do ‘right thing’ with lost money


When a woman left hundreds of dollars in foreign currency on the counter, Queenstown-based Scotswoman Megan McFarlane didn’t hesitate.

The 24-year-old staffer at downtown Queenstown’s Cookie Time shop took the loot down to the police station in the hope of reuniting it with its owner.

Unfortunately, as it was 6pm on a Sunday, the police station was closed. 

McFarlane put the money – which was in a travel wallet – in the store safe and on Monday morning took it back to the police. Cookie Time manager Vicki Onions invited Mountain Scene along to witness her employee’s good deed.

McFarlane says she was never tempted to pocket any of the cash.

“I’ve had money stolen when I’ve been travelling and it’s horrible.” 

In her case, it was within two hours of starting her travels and arriving in Vietnam – she lost a small amount of cash and crucially her credit and bank cards, only recovered recently.

McFarlane says the woman who left the cash behind at Cookie Time seemed to be South American and was having a particularly forgetful day – on arrival she realised she’d left her purse behind in Just Jeans.

Senior constable Wayne Park says no one has reported the money missing as of Monday – and he’ll be contacting the Brazilian Embassy to try to find the owner.

Park says it appears the money was exchanged in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and is a significant amount of cash.

“It’s unusual for someone not to report that kind of loss.”

As for McFarlane, Park says she did the right thing.

“Queenstown is full of great people who just chug along doing great things without being noticed,” he adds.

Park says it’s quite a common occurrence and police usually have the finders of other people’s money dropping cash into the station about once a fortnight.

It is an offence not to make a decent effort to return lost belongings to their rightful owner – Park says people who stumble across cash or other items risk being charged with theft by finding if they don’t hand them into the police station.

Meanwhile, in another local act of kindness Cromwell pensioner John Brammall, 84, wants to thank whoever returned his wallet to him at Frankton’s Remarkables Park last weekend.

Brammall dropped his wallet – containing $150 – when getting out of his car and only realised while he was shopping in The Warehouse.

When he went back to his car, someone had put it under his windscreen wiper.

“I couldn’t believe the kindness. There is kindness about,” a chuffed Brammall tells Mountain Scene.