Friends find over Rs 23 lakh in second-hand couch, return money to owner

May 20, 2014, 10:09 IST | Agencies

After buying the sofa set for only $20, the 4 students found envelopes with cash stashed inside it; instead of keeping it, they traced its owner

New York: The last time you dug into your couch cushions, what did you find? Some lint, a pen, maybe a couple loose coins? Whatever you came up with, it likely paled in comparison to the $40,000 (Rs 23,39,200) three friends found in their couch, a secondhand piece of furniture they’d just picked up at a thrift store.

Reese Werkhoven, a New York college student, and two friends, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo, had just bought the couch for $20, reports SUNY New Paltz’s student newspaper, The Little Rebellion, and were sitting on it for the first time, when Werkhoven brushed against an envelope under the armrest. Inside that envelope: $700 in cash. “I almost peed,” Werkhoven recalled. “The most money I’d ever found in a couch was like 50 cents. Honestly, I’d be ecstatic to find just $5 in a couch.”

QUITE A BARGAIN: Reese Werkhoven (top) counts the cash that was found in the couch she and her friends bought for just $20

A deeper dig into the couch’s depths revealed more envelopes, some containing stacks of $100 bills. When all said and done, the trio told CBS New York they’d collected a pile of cash on their floor worth nearly $41,000. “Our neighbours thought we’d won the lottery or something, because we were just screaming,” Gausti told the station.

Though they could have easily divvied up the cash and used it to pay off student loans, the three decided to follow up on a name they’d found written on one of the envelopes. A name which led them to an ecstatic elderly widow whose children had dropped the couch off at Salvation Army, planning to surprise her with an upgrade, not knowing it contained her life savings.

“We all agreed that we had to bring the money back,” Russo said to NBC New York. “It’s their money — we didn’t earn it.”

For their honesty, the woman gave each of the students $1,000.

$1,000 The amount the owner of the couch gave each of the students who returned it

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