Man finds $43K in donated couch and returns money to previous owner

Howard Kirby said the ottoman felt hard and when it was opened he found a box containing thousands of dollars in cash.
US Currency: Wads of US bills fastened with rubber bands, close-up
His initial reaction was to keep the cash but his faith made him think twice about it.Adam Gault / Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News
By Minyvonne Burke

A Michigan man said the ottoman for a couch he purchased from a secondhand store always felt a bit uncomfortable, but little did he know that it was because it was stuffed with $43,000 in cash.

Howard Kirby bought the couch and other furniture at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Owosso, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit, for $70.

He told MLive.com that he put the piece of furniture in his man cave, but thought something felt off about it.

“The foot cushion always seemed kind of hard,” he told the outlet.

Kirby's daughter-in-law opened up the piece of furniture to get to the bottom of its weird stuffing and found a box containing just over $43,000 in cash.

Kirby told MLive that his initial reaction was to keep the cash, and he even contacted a lawyer who told him that he had the legal right to hold onto it. But, Kirby's faith made him look for the original owner of the couch.

"The Holy Spirit just came over me and said, 'No, that's really not yours,'" he said.

Kirby contacted Habitat for Humanity ReStore and the store tracked down the person who had donated the furniture, a woman named Kim Fauth-Newberry. The store's manager then arranged for Kirby and Fauth-Newberry to meet so Kirby could return the money.

Fauth-Newberry told the Associated Press that the couch belonged to her grandfather, who recently died. She said he was frugal and always paid for things in cash.

“It belonged to them, and I’m glad I was able to give it back to them,” Kirby told MLive. “As a born-again Christian, I want to do what Christ would want me to do, and I think that’s what he would want me to do.”

Habitat for Humanity called Kirby a "Habitat hero" for returning the money.

"People find treasures in Habitat ReStores every day, but this is next level. We’re inspired by Mr. Kirby, who showed true Habitat spirit by putting others before himself and returning the money," spokesperson Bryan Thomas said in a statement.