One year after returning $43,000 in cash from a secondhand couch he had recently bought, a Michigan man says he would do it all over again – simply because it is what Jesus would have done.

Howard Kirby of Ovid, Mich., bought a $70 used couch one year ago from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Owosso, but he and his family soon became suspicious that something was amiss with an unusually hard cushion, MLive reported.

His daughter-in-law opened the cushion and found loads of cash – $43,170 worth.

Although Kirby was told by an attorney he had a legal right to keep the money, the small-town man chose to return the money to its owner: the family who donated the couch. He later learned the family’s deceased grandfather had stashed the money into the cushion.

Kirby could have used the money to pay off his house.

“The Holy Spirit just came over me and said, ‘No, that’s really not yours,’” Kirby told

The story made national and international headlines. When word got out about Kirby’s good deed, the community responded. Strangers donated the labor and materials for a new floor and roof, reported. And a Canadian man started a GoFundMe account that raised $15,000 for Kirby.

“It really reestablished my feelings toward mankind itself,” Kirby told MLive. “The world, there’s so many good people out there, whatever they believe in. There’s a lot of bad people, and the evil in the world shows up and we remember the evil a lot more than [when] anything that’s good happens, but I’m happy that [what] I done did encouraged so many people. … It makes me feel good because I was able to put out there, how I believe in Christ, and that’s what Jesus would do.”

Despite the pandemic – and despite a surgery to remove a kidney – Kirby says he’s had a great year. Kirby’s 11th grandchild was born. His son and daughter-in-law bought a house nearby, too. (They previously lived with him during a stretch of unemployment.)

“I’ve been blessed,” Kirby told “There’s been a lot of things that happened that I wish never did, but then, that’s a part of life. I don’t get discouraged, and when I do, I look back at what happened at that time. I never expected any of this to happen… It’s been a difficult and a wonderful year.”

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