A California resident was in shock when she stumbled upon a free couch ad on Craigslist. She wondered if there was more than met the eye… and as it turned out, there was. But she could have never guessed why.
When Vicky Umodu first moved to America years ago, she was worried she would struggle greatly. But luckily, her best personality trait - her kindness, helped her create the life she always dreamt about.
After spending the majority of their lives in Nigeria, Vicky and her late husband decided to make the big move to the United States back in 1988. At the time, she was expecting her very first child. Vicky was approaching a whole new chapter in her life. But more shifts would soon come her way.
Living The American Dream
Slowly but surely, the two immigrants started to get accustomed to life in the United States. Of course, they needed to make a living, so eventually, Vicky's husband opened up his very own business. For extra money flow, Vicky also worked as a midwife and registered nurse.
Over the years, not only did their business endeavors expand, but so did their family. Vicky welcomed 6 kids into the world and always made them her first priority. So much so that she even spent her free time volunteering at her kid's elementary school to squeeze in more time with them.
Vicky's love for her children persisted throughout the years. And eventually, the 6 of them were all old enough to have their own kids, and that made her one happy grandma! "My children are all grown now, so my grandchildren are my main focus," Vicky gushed about her large family.
"When my two oldest grandchildren are away at school, I babysit the youngest one," she explained. While Vicky was thrilled with how her life turned out, she sometimes wished it hadn't flown by so fast. But luckily for her, there were still many new surprises ahead of her… she just had no idea what was to come.
While Vicky had many ups in her life, she sadly also had many downs. Probably one of the most heartbreaking moments in her life was when her elderly husband passed away unexpectedly. Vicky was heartbroken over the loss. Her life partner was now gone forever.
Unfortunately, time didn't heal her pain. Instead, Vicky became more and more lonely over the years. She deeply missed the man who she spent most of her life with; the person she raised her kids and grandchildren with. It seemed like spending time with family helped Vicky's sadness the most - so she came up with a plan.
Her Master Plan
It came as no surprise to Vicky that spending time with her grandkids made her the happiest. That's exactly how she felt every time she spent time with her kids when they were younger. But at this point in her life, she needed family by her side more than anything. So, she asked her daughter what she thought of her plan.
Her daughter and her children lived all the way in South California, which was a long drive for Vicky. And since she officially had nothing holding her back, she decided to move to San Bernardino County to be near family. But little did she know what kind of adventure she was about to embark on.
New Area Code
After searching for days, Vicky finally stumbled across a home she was willing to live in. She planned to spend the rest of her days in Colton, California, with her little ones. So finally, the day had come. After selling all her furniture and packing up all her things, she made her way to SoCal.
Of course, Vicky's daughter was there to greet her and help her elderly mother settle in her brand new house. Together they started to clean the place up, but before they could actually unpack everything, the mother-daughter duo realized they were missing a few things.
A Fresh Start
The people who had lived in the SoCal house before Vicky had emptied out the place. There was absolutely no furniture left behind. "Sofas, tables, chairs, beds — I needed everything," Vicky later revealed. She seemed discouraged at first. But soon enough, she would make a shocking find.
The big move was exciting, but it wasn't exactly easy for Vicky. Especially the first few weeks, since she was still missing many household essentials - like a fridge. Her new chapter in life couldn't kick off until she was fully comfortable in her home.
The Craigslist Listing
Since Vicky didn't sell the furniture from her old house, she was hoping to try and find the cheapest options for her new home. So she decided to check Craigslist, a website that gives people a place to sell their things. It's known to be a lot cheaper than most furniture stores.
Immediately Vicky knew this website would come in handy for her problem. As she scrolled through the listings, she noticed a cream-colored couch that seemed to be in relativity great condition for a used item. Vicky was ecstatic. But as she took a closer look, she noticed something strange about the ad...
A Dream Come True
Before getting too excited, the elderly woman asked her daughter to make sure if what she was seeing on her screen was accurate. And as it turned out, she was: the couch was listed for free! Things couldn't have been more perfect - but still, Vicky had a weird feeling about it.
Her gut told her that maybe there was a dark reason why the seller of the couch wasn't asking for any money. "I thought it must be a gimmick," she recalled. So, before getting ahead of herself, she spoke to the person who listed it. "But [the seller] was very kind and told us to come to the house."
Moving the Couch
Vicky and her daughter made the trip to the Craigslist seller's house to check out the couch for themselves. They quickly realized that the ad was right - the couch was in perfect condition - and it was even very comfortable to sit on! Vicky immediately said she would take it.
"I'd given away most of what I had before the move and was planning to try and find some cheap furniture somewhere," Vicky explained later on about how hard it was to find things she could afford. She continued explaining that seeing a free couch online was a huge relief.
Starting To Feel Like Home
Since moving to her home in SoCal, Vicky had only a few chairs in the living room. But with all the cleaning and unpacking she was doing she had wanted a more comfortable space where she could sit and relax, so she was so grateful to finally have the couch.
It wasn't an easy move for the elderly woman. Her first few weeks living there were hard, especially since her place was so... empty. But she was willing to deal with it to be near her family. And luckily, when the cream-colored couch was in the living room, it started to really feel like home.
A Surprise Delivery
When the movers brought in the couch, Vicky noticed that they were also carrying a large brown box. She assumed it wasn't hers, but they set the box down in her house. Vicky had no idea what was in the mystery package, so she opened it up. Instantly the elderly woman was in shock at what her eyes were seeing!
Inside the box were numerous household items and different types of kitchenware. The very friendly Craigslist seller had included the free items along with the free couch for Vicky because she had told him about her situation - and he wanted to help her out.
Unpacking The Box
The very generous Craigslist seller had explained that all of the things he was giving away had previously belonged to his uncle, who had no use for them anymore. But instead of selling everything, he wanted to give them to people who needed them for free.
Vicky was in disbelief at how sweet the man and his family were being to her. It wasn't so common for Vicky to meet such giving people. She wanted to somehow repay him - but he didn't want anything in return. In fact, he even continued gifting Vicky with unbelievable things.
Adapting To Her Surroundings
Back at the house, Vicky and her daughter started to set the couch up. Because the living room was basically empty, they assumed it would be easy to find a spot for the comfortable sofa. But it actually made things harder as they had to imagine where the rest of the furniture would sit.
After moving it all around the room, they eventually found the perfect spot. Vicky was happy she finally had a cozy place for her grandkids to come and sit at her house. She stared at the couch in awe - until she noticed a strange lump on one of the cushions.
Taking a Closer Look
The cushion was bulging out a bit more than the other ones. Immediately Vicky assumed that her original suspicions about the couch could be true, so she took a closer look. She began to wonder if maybe there was a rip on the couch, or possibly the fabric was destroyed?
Vicky even wondered if there was a heating pad under the cushion that made it look so bulky. Her worries increased as she went to further inspect the couch. But despite all her imaginative ideas, nothing could have prepared her for what she soon found underneath the cushion.
As she examined underneath the couch cushion, she realized there was no heating pad or extra fabric tucked away behind it - it was actually something far weirder. Vicky lifted up the couch pillow and grabbed what she saw, only to find herself holding a very large envelope.
The surprise had Vicky's mind wondering even more than it was before. First, she received a strange box, and now she had discovered a mysterious envelope. She assumed that the uncle of the man who gave her the couch was the owner of the item. But what was inside?
Vicky's jaw dropped as she reached her hand along the envelope - only to find that she was holding a giant wad of cash in her hands. The elderly woman couldn't believe that she was actually holding upwards of thousands of dollars. It must've been the former owners of the couch, she assumed.
Vicky was in disbelief that the man who gave her the couch on Craigslist had not noticed that there was a giant bulge in the couch filled with money. "I was just telling my son, 'Come, come, come!' I was screaming, 'this is money! I need to call the guy,'" she relived the surreal moment.
Counting the Cash
Vicky's son rushed to her house to see if what she had found was really real. And low and behold, it was! He instantly started to count the endless amounts of cash sprawled out on his mom's new couch. Vicky counted along with him, and with every passing bill, they became more and more stunned.
The stacks of cash were filled with different bills of $20s, $50s, and $100s. After finally getting to the end of the stack, Vicky's son had finalized that there was more than $36,000 dollars! Neither Vicky nor her son could understand how the former family who owned the couch had forgotten about this much money.
With that amount of money, Vicky could be able to afford all the things she had needed for her new home. Because at this point, she still didn't even have a refrigerator in her kitchen. But despite how helpful the cash would be, she knew it wasn't right. "I knew I couldn't keep it," she confessed.
"I knew I had to give it back," she continued, explaining that the cash from the couch wasn't hers. "God has been kind to me and my children, they're all alive and well. I have three beautiful grandchildren, so what can I ever ask from God?" she said. Vicky was already grateful for all she had.
Giving Back the Money
There was no way that the nice man from Craigslist had intentionally given away thousands of dollars to a complete stranger. Right? Vicky knew she had to call him back and reveal to him that she had stumbled upon an absurd amount of cash underneath his former cushions.
She quickly assured him that she was ready to return the money to its rightful owner. And, of course, he was eager to comply. The man had gone to see Vicky so that he could finally collect the money left behind on his uncle's couch. But before he left, he made sure to leave something behind for Vicky.
Returning the Kindness
The man was so pleased that Vicky had called him to tell him the truth. Many others would have probably just kept the money to themselves, but Vicky had the kindness in her heart to do the right thing. He wanted to leave something for her as a way of saying thank you.
He pulled out $2,200 dollars from the giant stack of money and handed it to the elderly woman. He wanted to show her that he was very appreciative and grateful that she called him over to collect what was rightfully his family's. Vicky couldn't believe what was happening.
Things Were Working Out
Vicky never wanted a thank you gift. She just wanted to do the right thing by returning the money to whom it belonged to. "I was not expecting a dime from him, I was not," she revealed later on to ABC-7 when recalling the events. She then confessed that despite this, the money was a huge help.
Finally, after waiting so long, the extra $2,200 she had just received gave Vicky the funds to be able to afford a new fridge for her kitchen. Day by day, her SoCal house was turning into a home where her kids and grandkids could come hang out comfortably.
A Lingering Question
Based on reports, Vicky finally learned from the Craigslist man that the couch had actually belonged to his uncle before he passed away. The family collectively decided that all of his stuff should be given away to others who may need it more than them… which is why it was free.
Yet still, even though she didn't ask the Craigslist man further, he explained that he himself had no idea why his uncle had stored thousands of dollars in a couch. He also revealed that he himself had found $1,000 in his uncle's home - but he assumed that was probably all of the money.
Little did he know, he was mistaken. As he eventually revealed to Vicky, there was more cash where that came from - lots of it, actually. That's right. Apparently, not only was there the original $1,000 and the $36,000 Vicky found, but there was also more money!
The generous seller revealed to Vicky that he, later on, discovered more money around the house. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were found hidden around the property. It was unbelievable. But his family members were still unsure as to why their uncle had hidden so much cash.
A Life Lesson
Vicky felt good about herself that she was able to help the man get his uncle's money back. "All my life, God has been good to me," she later explained while discussing her decision, "Even in hard times, I have felt blessed. It's important to do the right thing in life."
Vicky also revealed that being born and raised in Nigeria taught her many lessons, including how crucial it is to be honest and kind to other people. Throughout the years, after moving to America and having 6 kids and 3 grandkids, this life lesson stuck with Vicky.
Vicky's good deed not only made her feel good inside, but it provided her with everything she needed to finally settle into her home. Her plan to live in SoCal near her family was working out even better than she could have ever anticipated. Things were looking up for her.
"We are all very comfortable and enjoying the beautiful furniture that was generously given to us at a time when we really needed it," Vicky gushed. She then remembered how the first time she saw the couch ad on Craigslist, she wondered if there was a catch for it being free. Oh, the irony…
The Seller's Perspective
"I was happy to help Vicky and put the furniture and other items to good use," the man who posted the couch ad on the website later revealed."When she called me about the Craigslist ad, she told me she had nothing and needed everything that I was posting."
He admitted that he thought whoever was going to take the couch might try and sell it to someone else - but Vicky's kindness made him think otherwise."My heart went out to her, but you also wonder if somebody is going to turn around and sell everything for a profit," he explained.
His perspective on the person he would give the couch to changed when he spoke to Vicky on the phone. The man then confessed that when he later went to Vicky's house, he noticed that all she had was the couch he had given her. He knew right then and there that her honesty and kindness were genuine.
And his opinion was validated even more when he received the phone call from Vicky explaining that she had found thousands of dollars inside the couch. Because at the end of the day, it was officially in her possession - she didn't have to tell him about the money. But that's just the kind of person that Vicky was.
Looking back at her decision to return the $36,000 dollars she found, Vicky knows she made the right choice. While it might have been nice to have that much money, she never wished she could go back and change her mind because no matter what, she felt grateful for all she had.
All she needed was the bare necessity to have a cozy, comfortable home in Colton, California, where her grandkids could come over and spend time with their sweet grandmother. "No, I haven't found any more money in the cushions," she later said as she giggled.
Vicky's new life in SoCal proved to be worth the big move she made. Not only was she feeling happier than ever to be surrounded by family, but she also learned that her neighbors were caring individuals who helped others in whatever way they could.
She was shown that kindness comes back around at the end of the day. Because after returning the man his large sum of money, she was gifted back enough cash to buy herself the things she initially needed! The end of the story turned out to be a happy one… and perhaps we can all learn something from Vicky's kindness.