Ryan and Katie Moi have been the toast of their Eugene, Ore., community this week because they found $13,000 in cash on the street, and returned the bonanza to its rightful owner.
Ryan Moi, 25, told ABC News they’ve gotten lots of praise, but not everyone was so congratulatory.
“We’ve had mixed comments, you know, from people telling us that we should have kept it, that we made a mistake, telling us no one would ever have found out,” he said.
The pair happened upon the money on Monday afternoon. They were driving along busy Coburg Road in Eugene when they saw a bank deposit bag in the road. They stopped, opened it up and saw a thick wad of hundred-dollar bills inside, Ryan said.
“We both kind of… we were speechless for about three, four minutes, our hearts racing, but we both figured that someone had probably lost it,” he said.
Their father, Erik, lived nearby, so they took the money to him because they thought he would know what to do.
Erik Moi said he was in the shower when his children stopped by. “I heard them in the living room screaming ‘Dad, we found $13,000,’” he said.
In addition to the cash, the bag contained a slip indicating the total amount of the cash as well as checks made out to Reliable Credit Association, an Oregon-based consumer finance company. Reliable has an office not far from Erik Moi’s house, and he happened to know the manager, so he offered to take the money there that afternoon.
He recalled going in to see the manager.
“I said ‘Kyle, you missing something?’ And I handed him the bag and he just kind of turned white,” Erik Moi recalled.
Ryan Moi, who has a fiancée and 6-year-old daughter, admits that he and his sister daydreamed briefly about what they could do with such a windfall. He’s starting up a business and she’s in college, and her laptop had been stolen, he said.
But their good deed is being repaid.
Reliable presented the siblings each with a $200 Visa gift card on Wednesday, Ryan Moi said, adding that he and his sister have both received job offers. Someone who read about what they had done bought Katie Moi, 21, a new MacBook laptop to replace the one that was stolen from her.
“You know, we actually feel great,” he said. “I mean people told us how proud they are of us and with the job offers and my sister getting a new MacBook, it’s been a really great experience. We both feel great for turning the money in.”
Their father is among those cheering for them.
Erik Moi told ABC that he was “in awe” of what they did.
“I’ll be honest, my kids have had their bumps,” he said. “They’ve both been through rehab, so a couple (of) years ago that money might not have made it to my hands … so it was a very wonderful thought, or, a very wonderful thing.”
His children went to rehab for alcohol addiction, and Ryan Moi agrees with what his father said.
“At that time I honestly probably would have kept it and you know that’s something that, you know, I would really like to have been said or mentioned more, because a lot of recovering addicts get … looked down upon or judgments made. But they’re – that’s kind of an example that my sister and I set, that you know, just because you’ve had troubles in the past doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person and, you know, people can turn around,” he said.
ABC News was unable to reach Reliable’s president, Lee Holzman, late Thursday night, but he told The Register-Guard newspaper that he was grateful for the return of the money. Citing concerns for his employees’ safety, he declined to reveal how the bag ended up in the road.