We’ve all probably fantasized about buying, inheriting, or accidentally coming upon something that turned out to be much more valuable than we could have ever imagined at some point or another.

An ancient picture you found at a flea market that just so happens to have been painted by a famous artist who has been deceased for 400 years, or even a vase your great-grandmother passed down to you that turns out to be centuries old and worth a lot.

Such wishful thinking is just that, wishful thinking. Unfortunately, the likelihood that you will unintentionally stumble onto anything allowing you to make thousands of dollars, is extremely low.

Yet the chances of being surprised are present. Just ask Howard Kirby, a senior citizen who enjoys shopping at a thrift shop in Owosso, Michigan.

He started looking for furnishings for his man cave in December 2019 and went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see what he might find. For around $70, he bought an old couch and a matching ottoman there.


He ultimately received much more than he anticipated.

According to all accounts, Howard Kirkby would frequently visit the Habitat for Humanity ReStore whenever he felt like trying something new.

However, the couch and matching ottoman he bought for $70 one day would be the most valuable item he ever bought used.

According to the accounts, Howard bought the set and put it in his man cave, only to discover after a few weeks that the ottoman felt “odd” when he sat on it.

Howard decided to look into it because there was a clear difference in comfort between it and the sofa it was shipped with. He and his daughter once opened one of the cushions and were completely baffled when they discovered a lockable box within.

YouTube – WNEM TV5

When they opened the box and discovered stacks of $100 bills, their surprise at finding the box only increased.

When Howard, a recent retiree, totaled the funds, he discovered $43,170.

He admitted to WNEM, “I still have to pinch myself to ensure I’m not dreaming.”

YouTube – WNEM TV5

He had many reasons to consider keeping the money seriously, and you can trust us when we say he had the legal right to do so.

He had been struggling for a while as a divorced man. Sadly, his son lost his job, a kidney, and a family member to cancer. Furthermore, Howard’s house required a new roof.

Credit – GoFundMe

Howard, a Christian who had been saved, was torn. Despite his hardships, he ultimately decided not to keep the money.

Instead, he contacted the shop and inquired about the ottoman’s donor. Then, having located the original owner, he gave every penny back.

“Being a born-again Christian, Christ in me is the one that gave the money back,” Howard said. “Remember the bracelets, WWJD? Well, that’s what Jesus would do.”

Kim Newberry was the real owner of the money, and the Newberry family wanted to thank Howard for his amazing deed. They volunteered to fix his roof, but Habitat for Humanity and a nearby builder had already decided to replace Kirby’s roof in recognition of his wonderful charity.

“I don’t know how to say it; I’m blessed,” Kirby told M Live. “I’m blessed beyond words.”


To help Kirby, a GoFundMe page was created. More than $15,000 was eventually raised.

“I’m blessed beyond words,” Howard said. “I have had so much peace and joy because I did it; that $43,000 never could buy that much joy, peace, or happiness.”

Howard is incredibly inspirational. He gave back money in the hundreds when he was under no duty to do so and could have spent the money on himself and his family.

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