Soon after being paid for a job in cash, Alan Jacques took a 25-mile ride on his mountain bike Tuesday morning, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
When he realized the wallet was missing, Jacques said: "I was devastated. That was money for Christmas gifts for my daughter and for the rent."
The wallet, stuffed with bills, came out of his pocket not far from downtown, inches from a gutter where it could been carried off in the water.
Kathy Silva, a single mother of two young children who is also unemployed, was in a car with her boyfriend as they searched for parking spot. Worried she might be late for an appointment, she asked her boyfriend to drop her off -- and she almost stepped on the wallet as she got out of the car.
"It was pretty obvious to me it was somebody's Christmas money, somebody's rent money," Silva said.
She was going to call police but then found a receipt with Jacques' phone number on it, and the two arranged to meet outside the St. James Park post office a few blocks away.
He said he told her: "Oh, my God! You're an angel who came to me when I needed help."
Jacques offered her a $200 reward -- twice -- but she turned it down.
"Everybody loses something at some point," Silva said. "Everybody has choices to make. This was an easy choice for me. The expression of joy and relief on his face was just priceless."