Ask just about any college student or recent graduate that you know or find passed out in the lawn of a fraternity house if they could use an extra $40,000 in cash and 10 out of 10 of them would say yes. Ask those same people if they found that $40K in the cushions of a couch that they just bought on Craiglist or at a yard sale if they’d keep that money or take it back to the people they bought the couch from. All 10 of the college students in my hypothetical scenario would still keep the money, but there are apparently three people out there who don’t fit this mold.
Friends Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo were enjoying a new (to them) couch that they’d picked up at the local Salvation Army for $20, when Werkhoven, a student at SUNY New Paltz, found a wad of $20 bills in a patch in the arm of the couch. Once he revealed his find to his two friends, they went through the entire couch and found $40,000 in cash. I’ll give you all a moment now to go slash your couch cushions open with kitchen knives.
So what do you do with 40 grand in cash that you just pulled out of an old ass couch?
“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.” (Via The Little Rebellion, H/T to the HuffPo)
Basically, this was the U2 tickets episode of Saved by the Bell come to life, and these three young adults had a hell of an ethical decision to make. They had a woman’s name on one of the envelopes, and with that they had to choose whether or not they deemed her worthy of getting the money back. Otherwise, it was $13,333.33 worth of found money in each of their bank accounts, unless the urge to have it all overwhelmed one of them and it instead ended in a horrific bloodbath. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.
Additionally, thanks to Hollywood’s many, many stories of good people finding dirty money – James Franco and Kate Hudson star in Good People later this year – the three friends worried about drug dealers or other unsavory characters tracking down their couch and doing what it takes to get their money back. Since none of these people are Jason Statham, they decided to contact the woman to give the money back. It turned out to be the best decision that they could have ever made.
In an interview, the woman, who asked not to be identified, explained how her money was lost.
Her husband had had a heart condition and knew his time was limited. Before he died, he gave her money each week to put away for when he passed. For 30 years she stored her savings inside an old couch in the television room where she slept. When her husband passed away, she remained working as a florist and continued to store her money in the couch, until she had an operation on her back and went to a rehabilitation center for several months.
Upon the woman’s doctor’s advice, the woman’s daughter and son-in-law replaced the couch she used to sleep on with a full-size bed. (Via The Little Rebellion)
And that’s when the couch found its way into the home of Werkhoven, Guasti and Russo, and they were ultimately rewarded with $1,000 by the woman for returning her cash. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see this kind-hearted trio also being rewarded by Ellen DeGeneres at some point next week.