NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (AP) — For all the screaming and carrying on, their neighbors thought they’d won the lottery. But it was a lumpy old sofa stuffed with $40,000 in cash that had three young roommates raising a ruckus.
And here’s the other side of the ticket: They returned the money to the 91-year-old widow whose couch had been given away.
“We just pulled out envelopes and envelopes,” said Cally Guasti, a social worker with Family of Woodstock who shares an apartment with two friends in New Paltz, 75 miles north of New York City. “My mouth was literally hanging open — everybody’s was — it was an unfathomable amount.”
Guasti told The Associated Press on Thursday that she and her friends had bought the beat-up couch and a chair for $55 at a Salvation Army thrift shop in March. They noticed the arm cushions were weirdly lumpy. Then, one night in April, one of them, State University of New York at New Paltz student Reese Werkhoven, opened a zipper on one arm and found an envelope.
It contained $4,000 in bubble-wrapped bills.
Guasti, Werkhoven and roommate Lara Russo opened the other arm zipper and started mining the treasure stashed inside. They counted it up: $40,800.
“Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed,” Russo said. “I wanted to put it back in the couch and like re-find it in the morning when I can process it better.”
Gausti said they spread the money on the bed and started counting.