Imagine that one afternoon, you discover a stack of money thicker than a deck of cards. What runs through your mind?
How much is this? What could I buy with it?
Then, invariably: Can I... keep it?
We can only guess what Andy Rasmussen first thought when he pried up the floorboards of a Bloomington home he was remodeling on Thursday morning. There, sitting atop an old heating duct, was a half-shredded bag full of stacks upon stacks of bills. They were $20s and $50s, he saw -- yellowed and moldy at the edges, and with a smell like death, but easily worth well over $30,000 by his own estimation.
Andy and his wife, Carisa, have been remodeling houses for 13 years. Their company, Accessible Homes, revamps houses for people with disabilities. Carisa had been inspired to start the company after watching her aunt die of a particularly vigorous cancer. She knew there must be plenty of others living in homes too difficult for them to navigate on their own.
This particular remodel was for Bethesda Lutheran Services -- a nonprofit that provides homes, supported living programs, and more for people with developmental disabilities. Bethesda had purchased the 1976 rambler in June as a potential new home for some clients who wanted to live in a less institutional setting.
There was no way of knowing why all that cash ended up under the floor. The money was old, but not ancient – one of the bills was dated 1988. Someone, Andy speculated, must have thrown the sack up onto the duct from the utility room below some years ago, and never returned for it.
Forgotten money is impossible to track. Anything could have happened to it after Andy and his crew exposed it to the light of day. But here’s what did happen: Andy gave Bethesda a call.
“Are you sitting down?” he asked. His contact at Bethesda groaned, he says, then asked him why, and what happened.
“Nothing – we found a bag of money,” Andy answered.
The contact groaned again. No, really, he said. What happened?
Andy assured him that they really and truly had found a sack of cash. It was stinking up his van right that instant, and as the owner of the house, Bethesda had a right to it.
A spokesperson from Bethesda commended Andy's “honesty and integrity.” Andy is still a little bemused about the whole thing. He says he never thought about keeping the loot, except in a floating, abstract way – that a sum like that “would go far” for his small business. But he described his company as “honest” and “hard-working.” If this cash was going to help people who needed it, as far as Andy and Carisa were concerned, it was “not going to waste.”