A few months ago Pat Wesner did what she thought anybody would do if thousands of someone else’s dollars literally landed in front of them.
The Pember Library and Museum Director picked the money up, called police and returned it to the Brink’s truck from which it fell. Her story though, immediately caught attention locally, then nationally and even internationally.
The National Enquirer and the National Examiner both featured a photo of Wesner and Trooper Kevin Saunders with the money she found and her story. But she said she was more proud of being featured as online news source Huffington Post’s person of the day, because it’s a paper she regularly reads and likes.
“It’s nice to be known for something wonderful,” Wesner said. “I was not expecting this kind of attention at all.”
And the accolades haven’t stopped rolling in.
“I’m still getting stuff all the time for that,” Wesner said, referring to the letters and money that have been coming by mail for months. She said people have been writing to commend her on making a choice that she didn’t think twice about.
“They all say really nice things about how it gives them hope that there are good people in the world,” she said. In addition to the nearly $1,000 in donations the Pember received soon after the incident, money has continued to arrive, including a $100 check in the past few weeks. One Niskayuna resident even sent her a letter and an old postcard of the Pember as an opera house.
Though Wesner said she was shocked that many people though she did something unusual by being honest, she thinks that honesty is what provoked such a reaction.
“People appreciate good character, I guess,” she said. “I think it’s pretty funny that someone like the National Enquirer, they put out all these outlandish stories, and it’s outlandish to be an honest person. It’s funny that it’s so rare.”
Locally, people recognize her face. She said she was recently in a mattress store and the salesman was asking, “Where do I know you from”? In the end, she’s glad a positive story and the Pember got publicity from such a simple act.