The friends bought the couch in February from a Salvation Army store.
According to The Little Rebellion, after watching a movie, the students said they felt crinkles in two side pillows that were built into the couch.
Werkhoven, a geology major at SUNY New Paltz, told CBS News, “It had these bubble wrap envelopes, just like two or three of them. ‘We ripped them out and was just like freaking out, like an inch and a half of hundred dollar bills.”
The friends almost tore the couch apart in their confusion over what they had discovered.
As soon as all the packages were opened, they quickly counted the money while taking pictures along the way. The total amount was an unbelievable $41,000!
‘You keep counting more and more money and you get excited, like Reese was thinking about buying a car for his mom and a boat,’ Russo, a SUNY graduate, said.
But the students’ joy turned to moral doubt when they saw that one of the envelopes had a woman’s name on it.
‘The entitlement very quickly went away with finding that notice with her name on it. Because we didn’t earn that money,’ Guasti, a Mount Holyoke College graduate, said.
To find the true owner of the fortune, the students’ parents helped them look for it. The parents also told their children not to tell anyone else about the stash for fear it would be stolen.
Werkhoven’s mother finally found the woman in a phone book, and the young man called her.
‘I’m like “I found something that I think is yours and she’s like “what?!” and I’m like “I found a couch” and then she’s like “oh my God I left a lot of money in that couch,”‘ said Werkhoven.
Friends of the old woman, who asked to remain unnamed, said she told them that her sick husband had given her a lot of money before he died so she would have money after he died.
As she didn’t know where else to put it, she hid it under the old couch in her room. She said that for 30 years, she kept her savings in the couch. Not long ago, she had surgery on her back and spent a few months in a recovery center.
While she was there, her doctors told her kids to get her a new couch to help with her back pain. That’s how it happened at the Salvation Army.
‘We almost didn’t pick that couch,’ Russo told thelittlerebellion.com. ‘It’s pretty ugly and smells, but it was the only couch that fit the right dimensions for our living room.’
The three people said they don’t feel bad about doing the right thing and are even going to have dinner with the old woman and her family after giving her the money back.
‘I think it’s just that anyone can do good if they will themselves to it,’ Werkhoven told CBS News.
‘I think it went the way it should and to be honest I don’t think about it that much,’ Russo added.
The good Samaritans didn’t leave without anything, though. The woman gave the three kids $1,000 to share as a gift!
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Would you do the same if you got this couch for $20?
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