In 2014, Reese, Cally, and Lara bought an old, beat-up looking couch from the Salvation Army for just $20. It was a little smelly and fairly lumpy, but it was cheap and fit inside the college students’ dorm room.
One night, as the three were watching a movie, Reese had his arm up on the arm rest and felt something that was especially annoying and uncomfortable. It got distracting enough that he flipped the arm flap over and said, “I’m going to cut this open—whatever it takes!” according to AP.
He didn’t have to—there was a zipper.
After unzipping the flap and reaching around inside, he did indeed find a plastic bag, which was what he thought he might have been feeling. However, he didn’t expect that there would be $4,000 inside.
The three roommates were completely floored.
Then Reese said, “We should probably check if there’s more…” And there was more.
“And more, and more, and there kept being more,” Lara said. “Honestly, I was overwhelmed.”
Cally called her mom during the process: “There’s $20,000—no wait, it’s a little bit more, like $30,000!”
The grand total turned out to be $40,800.
Halfway through counting the cash, a piece of paper fell out and Cally spotted it.
It was a bank statement, complete with a full name and contact information.
“We were like, ‘Oh. We know what we have to do now,'” Reese said.
It turned out the money belonged to a 91-year-old widow who lived in upstate New York.
She owned that couch for 30 years, and the money was her husband’s savings. After he passed away, she had back surgery, and she had been sleeping on that couch every night.
Eventually, the woman’s daughter bought her a new bed, and she sent the couch to the Salvation Army without knowing what was tucked inside.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t ours,” Reese said. “I think if any of us had used it, it would have felt really wrong.”
Watch the video below: