The thought, of course, went through Joseph Gaboury’s mind.

It is Christmas, after all, and a $2,200 windfall would have gone a long way toward covering a holiday wish list.

But as Gaboury collected the bills from the pavement and slipped them into his pocket, he knew what he had to do. So he went back into the store, gave the people at the service desk his first name and phone number, and told them that if anybody called looking for lost cash, they could send them his way.

Gaboury’s phone rang the next day. He was out $2,200, but he was flush with satisfaction.

“Of course, you think about what you could do with that money,” Gaboury said. “At the end of the day I couldn’t sleep at night. That was somebody’s hard-earned money. It was important to me that it got back to the right person.”

Gaboury’s moral test began around 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, as he was leaving Lowe’s Home Improvement in Augusta to head back home to Readfield.

“Walking in the parking lot, I came around a vehicle and looked down,” Gaboury said. “I was in disbelief to see $100 bills laying around like that.”

Gaboury, 41, a manager for TexTech Industries in Monmouth, thought about his options. He settled on giving the store his contact information. The decision paid off, literally, but Gaboury still wonders if he did the right thing.

“I should have gone to the police,” he said. “I didn’t know how much was in there until I got home and counted it. It was $2,200. All I could think was someone must be stressed, losing that kind of money.”

That someone was Peter Brown of Hampden. Brown, who did not return a phone call seeking comment, told Gaboury that he stopped at Lowe’s on his way to Boothbay. The cash was for a snowmobile that Brown wanted to buy.

“He remembers, when he went to get back in his truck at Lowe’s, he took his jacket off,” Gaboury said. “He had the money in his jacket pocket.”

Brown called Gaboury around 10 a.m., the next day.

“He said, ‘I understand you found some money in the parking lot,’” Gaboury said. “any chance was it $2,200?”

Gaboury told Brown that he would turn the money in to the Augusta Police Department for Brown to retrieve. Gaboury filed a police report and left without the money.

“I talked to (Brown) later and he was really thankful,” Gaboury said. “He said he wasn’t going to call Lowe’s at all, but his wife told him to. He said, ‘Boy, am I glad I called.’“

Augusta police Sgt. Christopher Shaw, who confirmed Gaboury’s account, recalled Brown’s joy and surprise at seeing his money again.

“It was a nice thing to do,” Shaw said.

Gaboury wasn’t looking for anything for his good deed. He wasn’t even going to tell his story until someone he knew told the Kennebec Journal.

Gaboury initially refused a reward from Brown, but he received a Christmas card this week with $250 inside.

“It was a very nice card,” Gaboury said.