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College Students In New Paltz Find $40,000 In Couch Bought At Thrift Store
ABC7 ^ | Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Jim Dolan

Posted on 05/15/2014 2:18:11 PM PDT by nickcarraway

They picked it up at a local thrift store, paying only $20 for the couch.

But inside, three college roomates found a stash full of money, totalling $40,000.

The students in New Paltz had a tough decision: do they keep the money or track down the owner who stole it?

The ugly and kind of uncomfortable couch came from the Salvation Army, and for a couple of months it just sat there in the tiny apartment, until Reese Werkhoven decided to find out why it was so lumpy.

"There's a zipper on the bottom, and he pulled out a bag, and we said it's either drugs or money, and we freak out and it's a stack of hundreds and fifties," said student Lara Russo.

"So we pulled it out of the couch and we're shaking and the first thing Lara said is 'lock the doors'," said Reese.

"Next door they actually thought that we won the lottery. Our walls are really thin between our wall and their wall," said social worker Callie Guasti.

The first envelope had $4,000 in it, the others added up to over $40,000.

"At first we found the money but there was no name or anything, and we're bugging out, like, what kind of boat are we going to get, where are we going," said Reese.

"I wanted to go on an epic road trip around the United States, that would be awesome," said Lara.

Envelope by envelope the money was piling up, and the Salvation Army doesn't keep records on this sort of thing, so they wouldn't have known who donated that couch. The three admit they were thinking about all the cool things they could do with that money, until they found the deposit slip. And then it became a whole different moral issue.

But what's most remarkable about the three, who are all from New York City and went to the same high school, is that there wasn't a question or even a debate. The money wasn't theirs.

"We were always pretty clear, if we could find her and she was alive, it was her money, no matter what the circumstances," Lara said.

They tracked down the woman whose name was on the envelope. She is 91 years old and had recently broken a hip. She didn't trust banks, and her kids donated the couch when she was in the hospital. She was a widow.

"That's one of the things she said, 'I feel like this is a gift from my husband, he's looking down on me and that's part of the reason you guys came here', which was so touching," said Callie.

Three kids, whose collective savings add up to, well, they don't have any savings. But they sure do have an abundance of goodwill.

"It wasn't a debate, we immediately reached a consensus that this is her money," said Reese.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: moralabsolutes

1 posted on 05/15/2014 2:18:11 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
The students in New Paltz had a tough decision: do they keep the money or track down the owner who stole it?

I think the writer meant "who sold it" not "who stole it"!

BTW, good story about these kids doing the right thing.

2 posted on 05/15/2014 2:23:23 PM PDT by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: nickcarraway

A really beautiful thing those kids did.


3 posted on 05/15/2014 2:23:23 PM PDT by Beowulf9
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To: Beowulf9

Absolutely! I am among the loudest on these threads when it comes to dumping on Millenials, but these kids absolutely showed the kind of character, honesty, and respect for others which made this country great. And it does give me some hope.


4 posted on 05/15/2014 2:25:05 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: nickcarraway

I would have kept the money.


5 posted on 05/15/2014 2:38:49 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (100% pure organic, free-range conservative)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

Me too. If you’re stupid enough to donate a couch in which you have $40,000 stashed, well, you’re stupid.


6 posted on 05/15/2014 2:42:32 PM PDT by petercooper ("I was for letting people keep their health insurance, before I wasn't". --- Barack Obama)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

Keep quiet, and split the money. No telling if it was granny’s stash, a drug dealer ripoff, or worse, a Clinton or BHO bundler...


7 posted on 05/15/2014 2:43:01 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: nickcarraway

40 grand would buy one helluva toga party!


8 posted on 05/15/2014 2:45:22 PM PDT by Veggie Todd (The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. TJ)
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To: nickcarraway

I think they did the right thing, but it can be argued on the other side.

They bought the couch in good faith. Whatever was in the couch went with it.

They had no moral obligation to return the money, but since the couch was donated without the knowledge or consent of the actual owner, I think what they did was admirable.


9 posted on 05/15/2014 2:47:35 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: petercooper
She didn't donate it. Her kids did when she was in the hospital. These kids are amazing and a great reflection on their parents. It makes me feel great that we still have kids like this in this country.

For the record I would have been sorely tempted to just keep the money...I hope I would have had the integrity to do what these kids did.

10 posted on 05/15/2014 2:48:41 PM PDT by pgkdan (ISLAM IS THE RELIGION OF THE ANTICHRIST!)
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To: petercooper

Uh,,,,,,

“She didn’t trust banks, and her kids donated the couch when she was in the hospital.” 91 years old, and in the hospital with a broken hip.


11 posted on 05/15/2014 2:48:45 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: nickcarraway

Yeah, I’m a greedy bastard. I’m keeping the cash.


12 posted on 05/15/2014 2:50:53 PM PDT by VanDeKoik
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To: nickcarraway

So someone wants to hide something in a couch and installs a ZIPPER instead of sewing it closed again??


13 posted on 05/15/2014 2:51:40 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra; GeronL; Tax-chick
“She didn’t trust banks, and her kids donated the couch when she was in the hospital.” 91 years old, and in the hospital with a broken hip

If her kids didn't know about it, she didn't trust them either!

14 posted on 05/15/2014 2:55:48 PM PDT by Ezekiel (All who mourn the destruction of America merit the celebration of her rebirth.)
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To: nickcarraway

Did they “check their privilege?” I mean... really./sarc


15 posted on 05/15/2014 2:57:02 PM PDT by Thorliveshere (Minnesota Survivor)
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To: nickcarraway

“I feel like this is a gift from my husband, he’s looking down on me and that’s part of the reason you guys came here”

She trusts and most certainly misses her husband.


16 posted on 05/15/2014 2:59:52 PM PDT by Carthego delenda est
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To: Sherman Logan
They bought the couch in good faith. Whatever was in the couch went with it. They had no moral obligation to return the money, but since the couch was donated without the knowledge or consent of the actual owner, I think what they did was admirable.

I would say that contractually, their good faith purchase is trumped by the lack of knowledge or consent by the owner of the sale. So they actually had no legal claim to the money. Morally, of course, they certainly had no claim to money once they realized they could contact the owner and return it.

Practically speaking, however, since no one knew of their discovery but them, these issues conflated into a spiritual test - which they passed.

17 posted on 05/15/2014 3:08:01 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Ezekiel

LOL! A friend of my brother’s inherited an auto salvage lot when his grandfather died, and he found cash squirrelled away in many of the junk cars.

The grandfather fell off the porch and broke his leg, and when he woke up and found he was in the hospital, he died of a heart attack, poor fellow.


18 posted on 05/15/2014 3:10:15 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If I offended you, you needed it.)
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To: Still Thinking

Sofa cushions have zippers on them, so you can take the covers off to clean them, or replace the foam insert if it’s too lumpy or the cat peed on it.


19 posted on 05/15/2014 3:12:56 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If I offended you, you needed it.)
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To: Still Thinking
So someone wants to hide something in a couch and installs a ZIPPER instead of sewing it closed again??

Most all sofa cushions that are removable have zippers. It's easier, cheaper, and faster than tying to sew them shut after they've been stuffed. Worked in the furniture-making biz for a few years. Stuffing cushions sucked. It was made easier with a vacuum and some silicone spray (wrap the foam in light plastic, vacuum shrink it, put the cover on, release the vacuum, then work the foam into the corners and zip 'em up.

20 posted on 05/15/2014 3:13:09 PM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Has anyone seen my tagline? It was here yesterday. I seem to have misplaced it.)
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To: Talisker

Good summary.


21 posted on 05/15/2014 3:13:18 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If I offended you, you needed it.)
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To: Ezekiel

See also “Grandma’s milk cartons” by Mike Cross.


22 posted on 05/15/2014 3:17:36 PM PDT by wrench
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To: Talisker
“Practically speaking, however, since no one knew of their discovery but them, these issues conflated into a spiritual test - which they passed. “

Or as I have heard put another way, “doing the right thing when no one is looking”

Good they did the right thing. A clear conscience is a good thing.

23 posted on 05/15/2014 3:17:43 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Obama lied; our healthcare died.)
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To: nickcarraway

Some years ago a demolition company was tearing down an old house near downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin. As they tore down the walls, one of the workers found hundreds of silver dollars attached to the inside of the walls. I don’t remember exactly how much they were all worth, but it was a considerable sum. Start tearing your old house apart immediately. (snicker)


24 posted on 05/15/2014 3:20:56 PM PDT by driftless2
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To: driftless2

I heard about a man that bought a small farm and didn’t like where some shrubs were so he got a digger and up comes a strong box full of silver dollars and pistols from the 1800s. Original owners long gone.

$40,000 would still be a nice find, not so sure I would do the right thing honestly! At least not by myself, I’d HAVE to have the good Lord guide me in the end.


25 posted on 05/15/2014 4:06:44 PM PDT by tpanther (Science was, is and will forever be a small subset of God's creation.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

it gives me hope too, not all is lost as long as we have young people with strong morals and convictions.

God bless these young people and may they find success in life. Well, may we all.


26 posted on 05/15/2014 4:14:45 PM PDT by Bulwyf
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To: Talisker

Evidently those students are better morally than some freepers.

I applaud the students .


27 posted on 05/15/2014 4:16:45 PM PDT by hoosierham (Freedom isn't free)
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To: nickcarraway
Very cool story. Nice to read something uplifting.

Good hearted kids - once they found a name there was no question of not trying to return it.

It's making the right choices like that throughout life that keep you asleep at night in your later years.

28 posted on 05/15/2014 4:23:10 PM PDT by eldoradude (How many democrats does it take to change a light bulb?)
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To: Talisker

Uh, so all those people who buy a very old painting that turns out to be a masterpiece or worth a lot...have to return it???Duh.

If whoever had the couch couldn’t notice the lumpiness or the woman’s kids were stupid enough not to check the couch for money or jewels ..I say the kids could keep the money.


29 posted on 05/15/2014 4:41:18 PM PDT by Recovering Ex-hippie
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To: nickcarraway

College kids doing something ethically right? Maybe there is hope for America.


30 posted on 05/15/2014 4:44:13 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie
Uh, so all those people who buy a very old painting that turns out to be a masterpiece or worth a lot...have to return it???Duh.

Uh, if the masterpiece painting was sold without the knowledge or permission of the owner, then yes, the buyer would have to return it when that fact was discovered. Duh.

I don't think you're done "recovering" yet.

31 posted on 05/15/2014 5:04:08 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: HereInTheHeartland

Your true character shows when no one is looking at how you act.


32 posted on 05/15/2014 5:15:46 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Name your illness, do a Google & YouTube search with "hydrogen peroxide". Do it and be surprised.)
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To: Talisker

...these issues conflated into a spiritual test - which they passed.

&&&
Exactly. They did as any of us should do.


33 posted on 05/15/2014 5:21:01 PM PDT by Bigg Red (1 Pt 1: As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct.)
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To: Talisker

The woman’s children “DONATED” THE COUCH TO THE SALVATION ARMY.That is like “selling it in a garage sale”. when you donate something you give up rights to it. No doubt when the woman went into the nursing home, they got rid of the mother’s belongings that weren’t given to them or items she wanted to take with her to the nursing home. By your logic anyone who helps their parents move into a nursing home and donates items to a charity or has a garage sale for their parents,must then assume that the value of the item must be reimbursed no matter how many people get it.

that would defeat the purpose of ‘donations”.


34 posted on 05/15/2014 6:15:42 PM PDT by Recovering Ex-hippie
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To: IYAS9YAS; Tax-chick

Were they talking about the cushions? I’m aware that those typically have zippers, but I thought I read that the money was in the body/frame of the couch, where a zipper would certainly be out-of-place. Maybe I was just thinking the body because if I were going to hide something in a couch, that’s where I’d put it.


35 posted on 05/15/2014 9:15:43 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: wrench

When my mother passed away I went through her stuff and threw out all the things I couldn’t figure out why she kept. But I made sure to look inside everything first.


36 posted on 05/15/2014 9:57:44 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: Sherman Logan
They had no moral obligation to return the money, but since the couch was donated without the knowledge or consent of the actual owner, I think what they did was admirable.

Yes they did have a moral obligation to return the money. I have made decisions that were life or death and not my own. My decisions were much harder.

Those kids made the right decision are far better men and women today for their decision.

37 posted on 05/15/2014 10:25:50 PM PDT by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Mud Man, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR!)
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To: nickcarraway

Did anyone notice these upright young citizens are from NEW YORK CITY????

I’d love to know which high school they all went to, if it is public, private or parochial.


38 posted on 05/15/2014 10:47:06 PM PDT by EDINVA
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

The mother obviously did not intend to give away the money. So there’s no intent on her part, no explicit act on her part, no knowledge on her part of the donation, and perhaps even no comprehension by the time it was done die to a degree of dementia. That’s called... no intent.

In addition, there’s this morality thing that goes even beyond the legalities of those considerations (mind blowing that that’s even possible, isn’t it?).

But don’t worry about any of these issues. There’s no point trying to reach beyond your grasp.


39 posted on 05/16/2014 1:09:10 AM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Still Thinking
Were they talking about the cushions?

Well, you know, they didn't specifically state the cushions. The article mentioned they opened it up because it was lumpy. So, I guess it was an assumption on my part. My wife and I purchased a new sofa sectional set last year, and everything has zippers on it. The seat cushions (even though they are attached), the back cushions, armrests. All of them have zippers now. It's kind of nice, because you can unzip them and re-fluff the back cushions and armrests (they're stuffed with dacron).

40 posted on 05/16/2014 5:36:54 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Has anyone seen my tagline? It was here yesterday. I seem to have misplaced it.)
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To: nickcarraway; 185JHP; 230FMJ; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
I like this story. I also like the responses from our fellow FReepers; they sure run the gamut from keeping the money to returning it. One reply here even claims the students had a moral right to keep the money!

What do you think?

 

Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail Responsibility2nd or little jeremiah to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list. FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search [ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


41 posted on 05/16/2014 6:49:42 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Beowulf9

Yes, they did a lovely thing.


42 posted on 05/16/2014 2:29:01 PM PDT by bboop (does not suffer fools gladly)
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