craigslist couch true story
YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

Woman Makes Startling Discovery Inside Free Craigslist Couch


| LAST UPDATE 06/16/2022

By Amelie Durham

An elderly woman couldn't believe her eyes when she spotted a free couch ad while browsing Craigslist listings. She suspected right away there must be more to the story - and boy, was she right about that...

Meet Vicky

Ever since she moved to the United States decades ago, Vicky Umodu lived a relatively normal life. She was grateful for all her blessings and was exceptionally kind to others - it was her golden trait.

California woman Craigslist couchCalifornia woman Craigslist couch
Facebook via Vicky Umodu

Although they were both born and raised in Nigeria, Vicky and her late husband made their big move to the United States back in 1988. Vicky was pregnant with their first child at the time and was about to start a new chapter in her life - in more ways than one...

Life in the U.S.

After leaving their old lives behind in Nigeria, the two immigrants settled into their new life in the United States, where Vicky's husband opened a small business to provide for his family. Vicky, on the other hand, spent many years working as both a midwife and a registered nurse.

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Clarence Gatson/Gado / Contributor via Getty Images

Together, the two of them raised six kids, who were their pride and joy. Vicky's job as a parent always came first, and she volunteered as a teaching assistant at her children's elementary school so she could spend more time with them. She couldn't have asked for a happier life...

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Family First

Decades passed, and Vicky's family grew - and her already big heart grew with it. Her children grew up to be kind and successful people with families of their own. "My children are all grown now, so my grandchildren are my main focus," Vicky gushed.

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Facebook via Dee Umodu

"When my two oldest grandchildren are away at school, I babysit the youngest one," she added. Part of her had always wished time hadn't flown by so quickly, but she always believed the future would bring her wonderful surprises. Little did she know, there was more truth to that idea than she thought...

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A Painful Goodbye

But interspersed between all the joyous moments throughout Vicky's life were a few sad events that filled her heart with pain. Her elderly husband passed away one day, and his loss left a hole in her heart that she knew could never be mended. And so the years passed...

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Afro Newspaper/Gado / Contributor via Getty Images

...and Vicky's loneliness grew worse. She had lost her lifelong companion, who she'd set out on this adventure with so many years ago. It became increasingly difficult to live by herself, and Vicky constantly felt the need to be around family. So she had an idea.

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A Plan Is Hatched

Just like when she was a young mother, Vicky felt happiest when she was near her children. She realized that, now more than ever, the place for her to be was close to her kids and grandkids. So she decided to give her daughter a call to see what she thought of her idea.

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Facebook via Dee Umodu

Vicky's home was a long drive from her children and grandchildren, who lived in Southern California. Seeing that she had nothing to lose and everything to gain, Vicky decided to move to San Bernardino County to be near her daughter. She had no idea what she was about to stumble upon...

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Moving to SoCal

It was time to put her plan into action: the elderly woman found a nice home in Colton, California, where she imagined spending the rest of her days living happily. Vicky gave away most of her furniture and packed up her belongings, heading to her new home, where a big surprise awaited her...

Vicky Craigslist California CouchVicky Craigslist California Couch
YouTube via Nick Johnson

Vicky's daughter helped her settle into her new home, cleaning the house with her and making sure everything worked properly. There were tons of boxes that were waiting to be unpacked, too - but there was one thing missing they needed to take care of before they could get to that.

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Starting From Scratch

The house's previous owners had left nothing behind, taking with them all of their furniture. "Sofas, tables, chairs, beds — I needed everything," Vicky later shared, referring to the rather empty house she had moved into in Colton, San Bernardino County.

Woman Craigslist Couch DiscoveryWoman Craigslist Couch Discovery
Instagram via @emotional.sobriety

Vicky's first few days in her new home weren't exactly easy - she didn't even have a fridge in the house yet. She couldn't start her life in the new county without making sure she had everything she needed. Little did she know, she'd soon make a surprising discovery that offered much more than that.

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The Craigslist Ad

The kind woman had given most of her furniture in her old house away for free, so she was looking for cheap options she could fill her house with. Wanting to avoid furniture stores and expensive listings, Vicky turned to Craigslist - and boy, was she glad she did...

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YouTube via Scan Lines

After several minutes of browsing through the website, the elderly woman found one particular listing that grabbed her attention. A cream-colored couch in perfectly good condition appeared on her screen - but there was something suspicious about the listing that caused Vicky to raise her eyebrows.

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Too Good To Be True?

She called her daughter to double-check for her and discovered that she'd been right: the couch was being given away for free. It was exactly what she'd been looking for - and yet, something still felt strange. She had stumbled upon a jackpot - a metaphor that turned out to have more truth to it than she'd thought...

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YouTube via WTHR

In fact, Vicky couldn't help but feel that such a couch being given for free was too good to be true - she suspected there might be a catch. "I thought it must be a gimmick," she later recalled. "But [the seller] was very kind and told us to come to the house."

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Moving In

So Vicky and her daughter went to the seller's house to check it out. Sure enough, the couch was in perfect condition - and quite comfortable to sit on. The elderly woman told the seller she would take the couch and arranged to have it moved to her new house.

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YouTube via 6abc Philadelphia

"I'd given away most of what I had before the move and was planning to try and find some cheap furniture somewhere," Vicky later recalled of her situation when she first moved into her new home. She also added that it was a relief to see such a nice couch on Craigslist for free.

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A Perfect Addition

Up until her new couch arrived, the living room in Vicky's new house had remained quite empty. She had chairs to sit on when she needed a break from all the cleaning and moving, but it certainly wasn't as relaxing as a couch that had comfortable cushions could be.

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Facebook via Cheap plot

She knew the first few days at her new residence wouldn't exactly be easy. It almost seemed like the house had too many walls - due to the lack of furniture to fill it. So when the cream-colored couch finally arrived, Vicky felt things were about to get better. And she certainly was right about that...

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Strange Delivery

Along with the couch, the movers brought in an average-sized box and set it on the floor. Vicky was puzzled - her eyes followed the mysterious box curiously as the movers carried it into her home, and she wondered what could be inside. But when she opened it and saw what it contained, her jaw dropped...

woman craigslist strange couchwoman craigslist strange couch
YouTube via Mobile StairLift

The kind man who sold Vicky the couch - or rather, gave it to her free of charge - had also thrown in some free kitchenware and other household supplies he thought she'd find useful. The elderly woman had told him about her situation, and he wanted to help in any way he could.

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The Unboxing

The kind man had explained to Vicky that all the furniture he was giving away belonged to his uncle, who no longer needed it. It turns out he was giving away all of his belongings, which the man decided to give away for free to people who might need them.

Vicky Umodu Craigslist couchVicky Umodu Craigslist couch
YouTube via Bust a Move Moving

Vicky was surprised at the family's kindness - it wasn't common to encounter such generosity coming from strangers. But this gracious family wanted nothing in return - only to help others. Yet, Vicky was about to discover another surprise the delivery had brought into her home...

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Adjusting to the Surroundings

In the meantime, Vicky and her daughter got to work rearranging the living room to decide where the new sofa would fit best. They initially thought the emptiness of the room would make it easier to choose a spot for it, but they still had to imagine where the rest of the furniture would go.

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YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

They finally found the perfect spot, where they imagined the couch would fit nicely with the rest of the furniture they would buy. As Vicky gazed happily at her new addition to the living room, her eyes fell on a particular part of the couch that seemed a little odd to her...

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Upon Further Inspection...

One of the couch's cushions appeared to be very bulky. Thinking she may have finally found something wrong with the free couch, she walked over to inspect it. Perhaps there was a tear on the other side, and the fabric in the cushion was ruined, making it look chunky.

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YouTube via WTHR

Or it may have been a heating pad that caused a noticeable lump in the couch, she thought to herself. So she went over to examine it, now a bit worried that she might have a faulty couch in her living room. Would she need to start looking again for another one?

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The Mysterious Envelope

But what the elderly woman found under the couch cushion wasn't a tear or a heating pad - it was something else that confused her even more. Pulling her hand out from under the cushion, she discovered that her fingers were clutching a rather thick envelope.

couch envelope craigslist discoverycouch envelope craigslist discovery
YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

First a mysterious box, now a secret envelope...Vicky wondered what could possibly be inside it. Maybe it held important papers or documents the previous owner thought would be safely hidden in his couch, she guessed. The man who gave her the couch would certainly be happy to know about them.

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A Shocking Discovery

But her eyes widened in disbelief when she pulled out the contents of the envelope she held in her hands. Vicky realized that what was concealed in the envelope was something much more valuable to the couch's previous owner: thousands of dollars worth of cash.

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YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

There was so much cash in the envelope the woman didn't know how it could have gone unnoticed by the family who gave her the couch. "I was just telling my son, 'Come, come, come!' I was screaming, 'this is money! I need to call the guy,'" she later recalled of the bizarre moment.

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Counting the Contents

Vicky's son hurried over upon hearing the news and stared in disbelief at the amount of bills that were stashed in the envelope. His mother insisted that they find out how much money had been hidden inside the sofa. And so they sat together and began to count...

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They counted the mixture of $100s, $50s, and $20s now scattered around them and finally concluded there was a total of more than $36,000! They were shocked that the family was completely unaware there was enough cash inside their couch to buy a brand new car!

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What Would She Do?

That amount of money would certainly help Vicky get a financial head start on getting the rest of the furniture - like a refrigerator, for example - she would need for her new place. But she wouldn't feel right about using the money herself. "I knew I couldn't keep it," she said. 

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YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

"I knew I had to give it back," she added, explaining that the money did not belong to her. "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 perfectly content with what she had.

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Returning the Money

Surely, the man didn't intend for tens of thousands of dollars to end up in a stranger's lap. So she called the man who had listed the couch on Craigslist and explained the situation. She told him she'd discovered a large sum of money hidden inside the couch...

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YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

Vicky made sure to let him know that she would be more than happy to return the money to him. When he heard about the surprising discovery, the man rushed over immediately to take his uncle's money back. He thanked the elderly woman for her kindness. But that's not all he did.

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Paying It Forward

The man was surprised by the woman's phone call. Normally, when people find such a large sum of money, they would probably think to keep it to themselves. So the man decided a relatively small but important gesture was in order to show Vicky how grateful he was...

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He decided to give the elderly woman $2,200 from the money she had so graciously returned to him. He hoped it would show her his appreciation for her honesty - which was rare to come across in such situations. Vicky was taken aback by his offer. She hadn't seen it coming.

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Falling Into Place

It was only because she believed in doing the right thing that she called the man to inform him of his uncle's money. "I was not expecting a dime from him, I was not," she later commented when she told ABC-7 her story. However, she had to admit the money would help her a great deal...

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YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

With the extra $2,200 she received back, Vicky could now afford to buy a refrigerator in good condition to put in her kitchen. Slowly but surely, she was getting a few steps closer to finally being all set to start her new life near her family in Southern California.

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Looking for an Explanation

According to one report, Vicky later learned that the furniture being given away by the family had belonged to the man's uncle. After he passed away, they decided his furniture should be given to other families who would need it - with no charge. As for the money...

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YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

The man kindly explained to Vicky that his uncle had informed another relative about all of the money he had hidden around the house for several years. Vicky probably thought it was a strange thing to do but was too polite to ask any further questions.

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More Where That Came From

Nevertheless, the man voluntarily explained to Vicky that he wasn't sure why there was so much money hidden in several places in his uncle's old home. He mentioned finding out about $1,000 somewhere in the house, but didn't think there would be any more than that lying around. 

California couch money craigslistCalifornia couch money craigslist
YouTube via thetvteacher

Later, he discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in different areas of the home, and the sofa turned out to be just one more jackpot. No one was sure what the man could have possibly been hiding it for, but Vicky was sure it wasn't so a stranger could find it in a free couch.

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A Priceless Lesson

Vicky was happy to know she had helped return the money of a deceased relative to the kind family. "All my life, God has been good to me," she later shared, referring to her decision. "Even in hard times, I have felt blessed. It's important to do the right thing in life."

California couch craigslist moneyCalifornia couch craigslist money
YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

She went on to explain that, growing up in Nigeria, she had learned how important it was to be honest and kind to others. Decades later, including a huge move to the United States, and another move to be closer to her family, she still carried those values with her wherever she went.

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Kindness Comes Full Circle

Indeed, her good deed had brought this elderly woman a lot of good fortune. Her move to Southern California worked out even better than she'd originally imagined. She was very thankful to have a cozy place to spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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YouTube via CBS Los Angeles

"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 said. She recalled how she first thought there was a catch after seeing the couch listed for free. She had assumed there may be something wrong with it.

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A Different Perspective

"I was happy to help Vicky and put the furniture and other items to good use," the man who listed the couch on the website later shared. "When she called me about the Craigslist ad, she told me she had nothing and needed everything that I was posting."

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YouTube via ABC News

But since kindness was a rare thing to find, he always suspected whoever took the couch home might not actually be interested in keeping it in their home. "My heart went out to her, but you also wonder if somebody is going to turn around and sell everything for a profit," he confessed.

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Reassured, At Last

But all that changed when he received a call from Vicky. He later shared that when he hopped into his car and drove to Vicky's house, he saw that the only thing she had in her home was the couch she'd picked up at his uncle's house. It was a validation of her honesty, he explained.

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YouTube via ABC News

The unexpected phone call about the envelope full of cash had surprised the man. Not just because he never thought there would be money hidden in the couch he’d just sold, but also because he never would have imagined someone being so honest about it...

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Looking Back

When it came to the question of returning the over $36,000 she found in her new couch, Vicky Umodu knew she had done the right thing and had no regrets. She believed she had no reason to feel guilty about it - she was perfectly content with what she had.

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YouTube via 6abc Philadelphia

After all, all she truly needed was peace of mind and a few pieces of furniture so she could enjoy her new life in Colton, California, with her precious kids and grandkids. "No, I haven't found any more money in the cushions," she later said with a laugh.

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The Takeaway

Vicky's life after she moved to the city of Colton in Southern California turned out to be a lot nicer than she'd expected. She discovered that people were really kind down there and was happy to be surrounded by her family, who she loved and cherished the most.

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YouTube via 6abc Philadelphia

Not only that, but her act of kindness was rewarded with the money she initially needed to buy a refrigerator for her new home. Kindness really does come full circle; Vicky Umodu was all set and had everything she needed to live a comfortable and happy life. And perhaps we could all learn a thing or two from her...

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