Students who needed a break purchased an old couch from a thrift store for just $20.00. When they saw what was inside, they were completely shocked by their find.
13. A Moral Dilemma
What do you do when you unexpectedly find cash? It’s not unusual to find a few coins or even a stray $10 bill. It’s quite another to discover a large quantity of money with no obvious owner. Would you attempt to find the owner? Go to the police? Or just accept it as fate and go on your way?
12. A Used Couch
That was the dilemma that some college kids had to contend with at SUNY New Paltz. And it was not part of a philosophy examination. It all started when some roommates needed a couch. Like most of us, these students didn’t have much money and immediately hit up the thrift store for a used couch.
Reese Werkhoven was a third-year geology student. His roommates were Mount Holyoke College graduate Cally Guasti, Lara Russo, who had just graduated from New Paltz. They had no intention of blowing their hard-earned dollars on a new couch. They headed to the Salvation Army.
10. Neat and Tidy
The three friends brought home the couch and gave it a thorough cleaning. They rearranged the living room to make sure they were comfortable. Then one of them noticed that something felt amiss under the one arm of the couch. Was there something inside?
9. A Big Find
There certainly was something in the couch. I turned out to be an envelope. Its contents absolutely blew their mind. The envelope contained enough twenties to be $700! The students were thrilled. “I almost peed,” Werkhoven said. “The most money I’d ever found in a couch was like fifty cents. Honestly, I’d be ecstatic to find just $5 in a couch.”
8. Even More Money
The young people weren’t done inspecting the couch. What if there was more where that came from. They started to remove the cushions and feel the bottom of the couch, just in case. They were about to give up and thank their lucky stars when suddenly, they found another envelope. Its contents? $1,000. Then the envelopes just kept showing up, all with more cash.
They were stunned to find that when it was all over, the final amount made the $700 out of water. They recovered an astonishing $40,000 in cash. The strange thing was that the envelopes didn’t contain any names. The students then started discussing what they should do.
6. “Moral Discussions About Money”
“We had a lot of moral discussions about the money,” Russo said. “We all agreed that we had to bring the money back to whoever it belonged to… it’s their money– we didn’t earn it. However, there were a lot of gray areas we had to consider.”
5. They Find a Clue
They looked inside each envelope and finally found a name written in one of them. They decided to track her down. They told her they needed to return the money to her. Later she explained her predicament to the local newspaper. Her husband was ill with a heart condition and knew he didn’t have much time left.
4. Savings for 30 Years
Before her husband died, he gave the woman money in an envelope every week. He wanted her to save the money for after he passed away. She dutifully put the money away weekly for over 30 years. She kept putting her money in an old couch in her TV room.
3. A Surgery
After her husband died, she kept on working her job as a florist, and kept on saving her money in the couch rather than a bank. She eventually had to have surgery on her back. Afterward, she needed to spend several months in a rehabilitation center. That’s when the couch disappeared.
2. Replaced by a Nice Bed
The woman’s daughter and son-in-law replaced her couch after the doctor recommended she sleep on a full-sized bed rather than on the old couch. They had no idea that her life savings were in the couch. When she returned home, she tried to make peace with the idea that all her money was gone.
1. A Happy Ending
However, the story turned out to have a much happier ending. The students gladly returned all of the money. The grateful woman gave them a $1,000 reward, which was more than they ever dreamed of — enough to buy a new couch if they wanted it. Everyone walked away in a better position than they were in before.