A man who was preparing to renovate a newly-bought home had an unexpected surprise when he found a number of envelopes stashed around the living room.
Jim Dow, from Chicago in the US state of Illinois, had purchased the home from a woman as an investment property earlier this year.
As he was clearing the living room earlier this month, he found wads of cash in envelopes behind the couch and an old picture frame hanging on the wall.
The money in the envelopes totalled a whopping US$10,000 (AU$14,000), with Mr Dow describing the find as “surreal”.
“Behind the couch, there were two banker’s withdrawal envelopes,” he told CBS Chicago.
“I think she felt that her safest place for her money was kind of hidden throughout the house.
“It was kind of surreal ... I thought it might be like being on some kind of reality TV show.”
While some would agonise over whether to keep the money or not, it was a no-brainer for Mr Dow to return it to the home’s former owner Gloria Carter – who said she spent 50 years of her life in that living room.
When Ms Carter went to offer Mr Dow a reward for his honestly, he asked her to pay it forward.
In an online review for Mr Dow’s HomeVestors franchise, Ms Carter’s son Anthony praised his extraordinary honesty.
“Jim worked with my family and I through the coronavirus pandemic,” he wrote.
“Throughout the process, Jim was both responsive and professional, while being extraordinarily trustworthy and honest.
“He helped my family avoid a significant financial loss by calling us after our business dealings had officially been completed to return approximately five envelopes he had found around the house containing over $10,000.”
Mr Carter also extended his gratitude to Mr Dow.
“It was so refreshing and encouraging to us to see brotherly, Christian love in action, up close and very personal. Thanks once again, so much, both for your professionalism and personal integrity,” he wrote.
“A person can be charged with theft if they find something belonging to another person and they keep it, or they deal with it as if they are the owner of it,” Victoria Police said online last year.
“Items should always be taken to a police station and if they are not claimed within a three-month-period, you can take ownership of the item.”
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