JERUSALEM -- It was supposed to be a pleasant surprise, but turned into the shock of a lifetime.
A woman in Tel Aviv, Israel, gave her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise gift, throwing out the old tattered bed her mother had slept on for decades. The gesture ended up bankrupting Annat's mother, who had stuffed her savings of nearly $1 million inside her old bed for decades, Annat told Israel Army Radio.
A massive search is under way at the city dump, where security has been beefed up to keep out treasure-seekers who have heard Annat's story in Israeli media.
Annat, who did not want to reveal the rest of her name, told Israel Army Radio that she woke up early Sunday to get a good deal on a new mattress as a surprise for her mother.
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She fell asleep that night, exhausted after lugging up the new mattress and hauling down the old one to be taken out with the trash.
When her mother realized the next day what her daughter had done, she told her that she had been using the mattress to stash away her life savings and had nearly $1 million padding the inside of the worn-out mattress.
Annat ran downstairs, but it was too late. The garbage truck had already taken away the money-stuffed mattress.
Annat alerted the two major dump sites in the Israeli city in an effort to locate the bed, but so far she has had no luck. Yitchak Burba, one of the dump site managers, told Army Radio that he and his men are working relentlessly to try to help Annat find the million-dollar mattress among the tons of garbage at the landfill.
The publicity has triggered a wave of people also trying to find the mattress and its contents for themselves. Burba has increased security around the dump to keep them out.
Annat told Army Radio that when her mother realized her queen-sized bank had been tossed, she told her to "'leave it.'"
"'The heart is crying but you know we could have been in a car accident or had a terminal disease,'" Annat said her mother told her.
Annat is also taking the situation in stride.
"It's a very, very sad story but I've been through worse," she told Army Radio. "It's a matter of proportions in life ... people need to know how to accept the good and the bad in life."