Three roommates bought a cheap, smelly, old secondhand couch for their student dorm room, but they had no idea that their new purchase was about to make headlines.
When they got home with the outdated couch, the pals noticed there was something hiding beneath the cushions. When they pulled the couch apart, they could not believe what they saw in front of them.
Students at the State University of New York, Reese Werkhoven, Lara Russo and their friend, Cally Guasti took a trip to the Salvation Army in search of a couch for their accommodation. However, they were shocked to discover that the couch was hiding the surprise of a lifetime.
With their strict student budget, the roommates weren’t too fussy with what couch they picked, just as long as the dimensions fit their living room. They didn’t just pick any ordinary couch, though. Unknown to them, they picked one with a very interesting past.
When the roommates finally settled the couch down in their living room and began using it, they noticed that although it was a beaten up, old couch, it was a lot more uncomfortable than they expected.
Taking into account that the couch was worn out and not surprisingly uncomfortable, the students let it slide and settled in with their cheap and cheerful new bargain. The day came however, when one of the roommates had enough of the lumpy bits along the couch.
Reese Werkhoven was relaxing at home on his exhausted, old couch when he became pestered by the bulges along the armrest. He felt something like plastic bags underneath the embroidery and assumed the couch was padded with them because it came from a second hand store.
When he pulled back the zipper, Werkhoven’s curiosity heightened as he realized this couch was more interesting than he thought. Inside the armrest he found a plastic envelope. He looked over at his roommates and began to open the mysterious plastic pouch.
When Werkhoven opened the envelope, the lucky student had discovered a stash of $4,000 in the armrest of his couch.
“I almost peed! 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,” Werkhoven said in an interview.
Filled with excitement and adrenaline, the three roommates began frantically ransacking the cushions in search for more money, ultimately pulling the pull out couch apart.
Like a scene out of movie, the students found two more cash filled envelopes and soon found themselves on the floor, rolling around in money. They eventually ended their search with $40,000 of cash in their hands.
In an interview, Lara Russo explained how she was skeptical about the money, “I was a little overwhelmed. I wanted to put it back in the couch and then re find it in the morning, when I could process it better.” But what would the broke college students do with their riches? Would they splurge it on beer and food or track down the owner?
They knew it didn’t belong to them, but how would they even begin to find the owner? It wouldn’t be long however, before the name of the owner surfaced from the crevices in the couch.
Not too long after they reached a total count of 40 grand, the students discovered another envelope with a bank statement inside and a woman’s name printed on it.
It was clear to them who the money belonged to, but the students were still cautious that the cash might have been involved in criminal activities.
“We all agreed that we had to bring the money back to whoever it belonged to . . . We didn’t earn it,”
Russo said. After debating the pros that it should be returned to its owner, and the cons that it could be dirty money, the roommates came to a decision.
The friends went in search of a phone number for the woman and when they dug one up, they gave her a call. When she answered she was adamant that the money was hers.
“Oh, I left a lot of money in that couch!”
she announced. So, the roommates hopped in their car and made a trip to the woman’s house.
Wary that the couch’s owner could be a criminal, the students drove 20 miles to Hudson Valley to return the $40,000 to its rightful owner and to ask her why she used her couch as a bank.
When they pulled up to the address, the three friends were greeted by a very excited widow. The woman, who preferred not to be mentioned, invited the three inside her home to explain why she had tens of thousands of dollars hidden away beneath the cushions of her dusty, old couch.
The woman’s husband, who suffered from heart problems, stashed money in their couch for his wife to use after his death. He accumulated quite an impressive amount over the years but one day, his hard earned savings were gone in a flash, leaving his widow distraught.
After her husband’s death, the owner of the couch was recovering in a rehabilitation facility following serious heart surgery. During her stay at the rehab center, the woman’s daughter sold the couch to make way for a recovery bed. When she got home, she was devastated to find that her and her husband’s secret savings were now lost and presumably gone forever.
The woman was dumfounded by her luck that the couch ended up in the possession of three ethical students. In an interview, Lara Russo explained that the couch almost didn’t end up in their apartment. “We almost didn’t pick that couch. It’s pretty ugly and smells, but it was the only couch that fit our living room.” The woman, who is a former florist, rewarded the students with $1,000 to show her appreciation.
The roommates have since remained in touch with the family of the 91-year-old recipient of their act of kindness, and made plans to return and have dinner with her and her family. After all, the whole improbable saga was quite possibly a once in a lifetime experience for all parties involved. Turns out there are actually lots of random acts of kindness in the world, with similar stories and circumstances making the news too.
The moral of the story is pretty clear from the ethical decision made by these three roommates. However, it may also be:
don’t give away your parents old things without first consulting with them! Now that the students are a thousand dollars richer, perhaps they can finally afford a brand new, nice smelling couch!