ORONO, Maine -- A Hermon woman who lost $4,500 in cash on Wednesday thought she would never see her money again. She was wrong.

By chance, a neighbor found the rubber band-wrapped wad of cash on Route 2 and turned it into police. The cash then made its way back to Cindy Stevens, who thought the money was gone forever.

Stevens was on her way to deposit the money, which was to pay for a cruise she is planning to take with her husband next month.

But somehow it fell out of her purse and onto Route 2 in Hermon as she drove to work.

Coincidentally, Stevens's next-door-neighbor, Kevin Peary, saw a flash of green fly off a car as he was driving home from work at the Orono Fire Department, where he is a firefighter.

''I thought it was trash coming off the vehicle," Peary said.

But when he stopped and realized it was a wad of cash, Peary called police. He waited for Sergeant Bill Laughlin of the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department to arrive before counting the money.

''I knew it was probably a couple thousand," Peary said.

Meanwhile, Stevens realized the cash was gone when she stopped for coffee in Bangor. She called her husband and then reported the money missing to police.

''I said, 'Nobody's going to turn that in,' " Stevens said.