Skip to comments.College Students In New Paltz Find $40,000 In Couch Bought At Thrift Store
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.
I think the writer meant "who sold it" not "who stole it"!
BTW, good story about these kids doing the right thing.
A really beautiful thing those kids did.
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.
I would have kept the money.
Me too. If you’re stupid enough to donate a couch in which you have $40,000 stashed, well, you’re stupid.
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...
40 grand would buy one helluva toga party!
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.
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.
“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.
Yeah, I’m a greedy bastard. I’m keeping the cash.
So someone wants to hide something in a couch and installs a ZIPPER instead of sewing it closed again??
If her kids didn't know about it, she didn't trust them either!
Did they “check their privilege?” I mean... really./sarc
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.