Unearned Fortune Provides a Test

An open treasure chest with golden light shining out from the lid.

'What is the most terrible thing in the world?' The master replied: 'It is desire!' (Image: Tavani via Dreamstime)

In ancient times when an unearned fortune came to your door, doing the right thing was not a difficult decision. These days, it seems the world has gotten so polluted that simple basic morality is gone and anything could happen. This story from 2011 shows that basic morals are not entirely missing. Not only can people make correct choices, but they can also raise the next generation properly. If every parent would do this, the future would be a better place.

In 2011, Josh Ferrin bought an old house in Utah. After the deal was closed, he went into the house to get familiar with it and to plan for renovations. In the garage, he looked up and saw an access panel in the ceiling with some carpeting sticking out. He thought he might fix it up to make a good place for his kids to play. He climbed up a ladder to take a look. It was dark up there, but he saw an old ammunition box. The box was heavy, but unlocked. He opened it and was surprised to see rolls of cash!

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An abandoned attic stored an unearned fortune.
He climbed up into the attic from an access panel in the garage to take a look around. (Image: Barta IV via Flickr)

Unearned fortune returned

He brought down the box and locked it in the trunk of his car. He then called his wife and said: “You are not going to believe what I just found in our attic.” He went back up there and brought down seven more boxes of rolled-up cash. He took all eight boxes of cash back home. His wife and his father spent three hours unrolling and counting the money. They stopped when they reached US$40,000. The reported total was about US$45,000.

As he looked at the money, he remembered that his car needed to be repaired, he wanted to make renovations to the house they just bought, there was the home loan to consider, and he could think of many other uses for the money. But he realized that the money did not belong to him, so he decided to return it. Some members of his family said: “What were you thinking?! It was your house! It’s your property!” This kind of thinking exposes the degraded notions and standards that are prevalent today.

Ferrin said: “This is the first step in a journey for us. There was no way I could start this new chapter in our lives in this house by doing something so wrong.”

He felt his family couldn't start a new chapter in their lives by keeping the unearned fortune.
He felt his family couldn’t start a new chapter in their lives by keeping money that didn’t belong to them. (Image: Flynt via Dreamstime)

The former owner of the house was an older gentleman who passed away during the previous year. He bought the house in the 1960s and he and his wife raised their six children in that house. The money was tied up with orange rubber bands. It was obvious the man saved his hard-earned money bit by bit. Ferrin contacted his two sons and returned all the money. They were really shocked. Ferrin thought: “The old man had saved for many years, but did not get to pass it on to his children. Now I’m able to fulfill the old man’s wish, and I feel very happy about doing it.”

In his interview with ABC, Ferrin said: “I’ve got two boys and we teach them to be honest and to do what is right and I knew this was a teachable moment that I would never get back again. So I thought we would have fun with it. We would do something courageously honest with it. Something awesome. It’s been a great thing for us and our kids.”

Through his actions, this father is teaching his children the importance of doing the right thing and living with integrity. This is an invaluable treasure that can be passed on for many generations to come.

Translated by Yi Ming

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