At one point or another in time we’ve likely all imagined what it might like to purchase, inherit, or stumble upon something that turned out to be far more valuable than we could have imagined.
Say, for example, an old vase handed down by your great grandmother that actually turned out to be centuries old and worth a fortune, or an old painting you picked up at a market that just so happens to have been painted by a world-famous artist who’s been dead for four-hundred years.
For the most part, such wishful thinking is exactly that: wishful thinking. The chances of you accidentally happening upon something that’s going to pocket you thousands of dollars are, unfortunately, very slim.
And yet odds are there to be upset. Just ask Howard Kirby, an elderly man who likes to go shopping for items at a secondhand store in Owosso, Michigan.
In December 2019, he set out to find some furniture for his man cave, and headed to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see what he could find. There he purchased a used couch and matching ottoman for a mere $70.
What he ended up getting was far more than he bargained for…
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By all accounts it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for Howard Kirkby to go to Habitat for Humanity ReStore whenever the mood for something new took him.
Yet all the things he bought secondhand would pale in comparison to the couch and matching ottoman he purchased one day for $70.
As per reports, Howard took home the set and placed them in his man cave, only to notice over the next few weeks that the ottoman felt “odd” when he sat on it.
Given that there was an obvious difference in how comfortable it was in comparison to the sofa that it came with, Howard decided to investigate the matter. One day, he and his daughter unzipped one of the cushions, and were left utterly perplexed when they pulled out a locked box from inside.
Their surprise at finding the box was only amplified when they opened it to find stacks and stacks of hundred-dollar bills.
Howard, at that time a new retiree, counted the money and it came to a whopping total of $43,170.
“I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming or something,” he told WNEM.
Now, legally he could have kept the money, and you can believe us when we tell you he had plenty of reasons to seriously consider doing so.
As a divorced man, he had been down on his luck for some time. He had lost a kidney, a family member to cancer, and unfortunately, his son had also lost his job. Moreover, Howard’s house was in need of a new roof.
Yet Howard, a born-again Christian, was torn. Ultimately, he decided against keeping the money despite the problems he was facing.
Instead, he contacted the store to ask who had donated the ottoman. Then, after finding the original owner, he returned every single penny.
“Being a born-again Christian, Christ in me is the one that actually gave the money back,” Howard said. “Remember the bracelets, WWJD? Well, that’s what Jesus would do.”
Kim Newberry was the rightful owner of the cash, and after Howard’s incredible gesture, the Newberry family wanted to repay him. They offered to fix his roof, but Habitat for Humanity and a local builder had already made plans to give Kirby a new roof based on his heartwarming generosity.
“I don’t know how to say it, I’m blessed,” Kirby told M Live. “I’m blessed beyond words.”
A GoFundMe was started in support of Kirby. It went on to raise over $15,000.
“I’m blessed beyond words,” Howard said. “I have had so much peace, so much joy because I did do it, that $43,000 never could buy that much joy or peace or happiness.”
Howard is truly an inspiration! He returned thousands of dollars when he had no obligation and could have used it on himself and his family.
Share his story to inspire others.