Man who returned $10k says he's not a hero

nigel edwards facebook
Nigel Edwards found the bag on the side of the road on Monday (Facebook)

A man who returned a bag full of money to its owners says he is "quite surprised" at the attention he is receiving. 

Nigel Edwards was driving with his daughter in the Auckland suburb of Epsom on Monday when he spotted an Yves Saint Laurent bag on the street.

He picked it up, and when he opened it later at home he found a passport, travel itinerary and about $10,000 in cash. 

"It was an inch thick of notes; euros, pounds, US and NZ money. It was a fair chunk. I went 'okay, that's a problem'."

He tracked down the owners, who had lost the bag on the way to the airport for an overseas trip. 

"It was just a breakdown in hysterical tears on the phone and I couldn't get a word in edgeways" he said. 

Mr Edwards didn't tell any friends or family about the bag until after it had been returned. 

Since then, the story has been shared across social media and Nigel Edwards has become a local hero, much to his surprise.  

"I look at people who donate food to the foodbanks - they're the heroes. I just happened across something and returned it!" he told Newshub. 

Mr Edwards says he just hopes to set an example to others who might find themselves in the same situation. 

"First of all I hope they never do!" he laughed. 

"It takes a moment to make the decision and then a week to get over that decision. 

"But if I could change one person who might find something big and think, if this guy can do I can do it, [then] it's worth it." 

He said he had bought one Lotto ticket since finding the bag, but it "ended up in the bin".

Mr Edwards doesn't expect much in the way of good karma for 2017. 

"I have a great life, great kids, a job with a good company; you can't ask for anything better than that."