You may have heard about the college kids who bought an old $20 couch at a nearby thrift store, only to find out later that it contained envelopes of cash totaling over $40,000 inside it! While the kids pondered what they might do with their new-found cash – their consciences got the better of them and they sought out its rightful owner. When they found her – the older woman rewarded the thoughtful students with a $1,000.
I also recently encountered a similar situation – albeit for less cash – and (a small detail) it was in a dream.
Here's what happened:
One of my good friends and I were shopping garage sales when we happened upon an older house that had been converted into a nursing home (in my dream, the house was played by my childhood home).
Outside this home, there were racks of clothes and quite a few older jackets lined along the driveway.
We got out of the car and I headed straight to the jackets, while the friend approached a table full of vinyl records.
“Hm. Maybe these coats have some money in them?” I thought to myself.
I grabbed one coat and after digging through the first pocket, I stumbled upon what felt like a business card. Only, harder. And, thicker.
I pulled it out of the pocket.
“Oh – a credit card!”
I went back into the pocket and pulled out 3 more cards.
I checked another pocket and found even more treasures: some cash cards and twenty dollar bills.
“Whoa – sweet!” I shouted.
“What did you find?!” my friend asked.
“Look for yourself!”
“Oh, you can't keep these. They probably belong to someone here.”
“Well, I could at least keep the cash, right?” I asked.
My friend shrugged and we approached a middle-aged woman, tending the cash box.
“Ma'am, we found some credit cards inside this coat. I'm sure they're all canceled by now – but at least the owner can rest easy knowing they have been found.”
“Oh – well, thank you very much.”
I gave her the credit cards and we turned around and continued shopping..
What would you have done?
Looking back at my dream, I have to say that I'm a little appalled at my behavior. Well, I'm glad I returned the credit cards – but I should have returned everything in the coat pockets to the lady managing the sale.
But, it does make you think about certain scenarios – and if these would make keeping the cash any different.
For instance, what if I bought the coat at the garage sale, took it home and found the cash cards months later. Would it be okay to keep it all because I had purchased the jacket?
Finally, does the amount of cash found in an item warrant your returning it? Is it a “duty” to try and find the rightful owner(s) if you find:
- $40,000 (like the students found in the couch)?
I'm curious, at what amount of money do you just keep your findings and don't say a word?