Hidden treasures uncovered

Workers stumble across some pretty amazing things

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You never really know what you’ll find when you take apart a plugged drain line, clean out a storm sewer or start digging into the ground. Usually it’s fairly predictable, but sometimes workers stumble across some pretty amazing things.

A few stories have come across my screen in the past week highlighting the surprises that are sometimes hidden just out of view. Two stand out. The first is from Berkshire, England, where a member of a local cleaning crew literally found a pot of gold in the storm sewer, or gully, as it was referred to in the story. When the man lifted the lid on the gully, he noticed a plastic pot with gold jewelry spilling out of it. The loot, which reportedly included necklaces, rings, watches and earrings, is thought to have been stashed by a thief. 

Rather than heading to the local pawn shop or scrap dealer to cash in, the man reported his find and turned the jewelry in to authorities.

In Holmes Beach, Fla., a plumber came across a valuable find of his own: $20,000 in cash. The man, who found the money in an air return duct in a vacant house, told the local newspaper he never considered keeping the foil-wrapped packs of cash.

Instead, he said he immediately called his bosses and reported his find. They in turn got in contact with the police and homeowners.

According to media reports, the former resident was an older woman who hid money all around the house. Before she died she told her children where everything was, but apparently she forgot about the $20,000. No one knew it was there until the plumber finally popped the grate off the air return.

Both of these stories are remarkable in terms of the items found hidden in places where they could have easily been lost forever, but more remarkable is the character demonstrated by the workers who discovered these treasures. Both were in situations where they could have easily hung onto the loot, yet they didn’t. They did the right – and difficult – thing and turned the treasures in so they might be returned to their rightful owners.

Both stories highlight the value of honesty and deservedly cast a positive light on contractors and municipal workers everywhere. We should all live up to their example. 


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