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A simple act of kindness
act of kindness
Main Street Antiques owners Lori Smith and Jennifer Jensen pose for a picture next to the vintage filing cabinet where they found hundreds of dollars hidden behind a drawer. The Good Samaritans promptly returned the money to the filing cabinets original owners. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal

A small act of kindness can make a huge impact, and that was the case for one grieving family.

Main Street Antiques owners Lori Smith and Jennifer Jensen often attend estate sales, seeking items of interest for the customers of their downtown Turlock shop. At one recent sale in Merced, however, the business owners found more than just antique furniture, they found hidden treasure.

Amongst the eight car loads of items Smith and Jensen purchased at the Merced estate sale was a turn-of-the-century oak "filing cabinet" by McCaskey Register Co. The vintage office piece has a roll top keyed storage on top and three dove-tailed drawers. When looking through the new acquisition, Smith discovered a “hidden” file folder in the back of the top drawer containing hundreds of dollars in cash.

Smith and Jensen said they sometimes find papers or old photographers in the antiques they purchase, but this was the first time they’ve stumbled across hidden money.

Although Smith purchased the item — and presumably all its contents — she didn’t hesitate to contact the family that held the estate sale and inform them of her lucrative find.

“I knew it was the right thing to do,” said Smith.

Gail Tutsch-Francis found the actions of Smith and Jensen “a special act of kindness” shown to her and her family during their period of grieving.

“They immediately got in touch with us and returned the money. We were overwhelmed by their gesture and honesty,” said Tutsch-Francis.

The family paid the act of kindness forward by donating the money to help the victims of the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County. Tutsch-Francis said her parents lived in Mariposa for over 40 years.

The antique filing cabinet that started the acts of kindness is still for sale at Main Street Antiques, however, now empty of all contents.