Talk about cold, hard cash: A fridge considered trash was tossed out by a Queens woman who didn’t realize her sister's life savings was stashed inside.
Magda Castillo had forgotten all about her secret hiding place, which her sister junked for $5 July 17.
“I forgot my money that’s inside there,” Castillo told local station ABC7.
Castillo went to the junkyard with her sister the next day, but it was too late. The fridge had been smashed "like a pancake."
“She made the sign of the cross and she says, I had $5,000 in there,” Fred Alsterberg of Atlantic Recycling told the news station. He couldn't find it, and the women left.
But then scrap yard manager Mike Downer, who arrived after Castillo and her sister left, thought he remembered the fridge. Downer and Alsterberg managed to find the discarded appliance and pry it open with a forklift. They found the bills in envelopes and wrapped in plastic bags. Now, they just had to “find the lady,” Downer said, since Castillo hadn't left her number. They alerted the media, and that did the trick.
“I saw on the TV they found my money,” the Cuban-born Castillo told the New York Daily News. “I said, ‘Oh my God, I'm very happy.’”
Finally, the lady and her savings were reunited on Tuesday.
Although Downer refused a reward, Castillo insisted on a couple hundred dollars to pay for lunch.
And the lucky lady says the retrieved cash will no longer be stashed in her kitchen. “Now I go to the bank and I open an account,” she said.
- Magda Castillo