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Friday, May 6, 2016

Would you return a found $45,000?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

When he closed on his family's first home, Josh Ferrin never thought he'd make the discovery of a lifetime -- then give it back.

Ferrin picked up the keys and, like many new homeowners, decided to check out the house.

As he walked into the garage, a piece of cloth that hung to an attic door caught his eye. He opened the hatch, climbed the ladder and pulled out a metal box. Ferrin then found seven more boxes in his home, all stuffed full with tightly wound rolls of cash bundled together with twine.

Altogether, he uncovered $45,000.

Ferrin then did something I don't know a lot of other people would do.

Since his home's previous owner had died in November and left the house to his children, he proceeded to telephone Kay Bangerter, eldest of the six children. Josh and Tara Ferrin then turned over the bags of money and boxes to Bangerter and her husband.

They did this Wednesday, two hours after taking ownership of the Bountiful, Utah, home.

"I'm not perfect, and I wish I could say there was never any doubt in my mind. We knew we had to give it back, but it doesn't mean I didn't think about our car in need of repairs, how we would love to adopt a child and aren't able to do that right now, or fix up our outdated house that we just bought," Ferrin said in an Associated Press article. "But the money wasn't ours to keep and I don't believe you get a chance very often to do something radically honest, to do something ridiculously awesome for someone else and that is a lesson I hope to teach to my children."

As I read this aloud Friday afternoon in the newsroom, I asked my coworkers what they would have done if in the new homeowner's shoes.

After stating I believe the Ferrins are upstanding citizens and I would have done the same -- because if I would have attempted to spend the money, I would have had a heavy, dishonest feeling overtake me every time I'd look at whatever I had purchased with the found treasure -- I heard different takes from my peers.

One smiled broadly and said he'd think it was a sign that he'd bought the right house. He then admitted he might be tempted to spend it.

Without hesitation, another said, "Finders, keepers."

Yet another posed the question: What do you think would have happened if Ferrin wouldn't have had children to teach a lesson to? Do you think he would have still returned the money?

My heart and head are filled by this true-life tale.

Consider adding to my musing. Let me know what you'd do. Would you return a found $45,000?

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This might be the hardest question I have ever asked myself. As a single mom who has many bills to pay, that much money could get me WAY ahead of the game. However, I think that my conscience would get the best of me if I didn't return the money.

Do you know, did Ferrin get some sort of award from the people he returned the money to?

-- Posted by aworkingmom on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 12:44 PM

Finders Keepers is a nice sound bite, but the law is pretty clear in a situation like this. That money is not part of the house and unless the purchase agreement specifically states that any items in the house are considered abandoned; anything like this, especially when discovered on the day of the sale, would legally belong to the heirs of the estate.

Not only did the homebuyer do the right thing, he did the legally required thing.

-- Posted by Paul.Dalen on Tue, Jul 5, 2011, at 12:20 PM

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Kris Todd
Kris Todd