A teen who was fishing earlier this month on a Minnesota lake thought he had caught a big fish, but he actually ended up with a lifelong lesson.
The 14-year-old found the long-missing wallet of a farmer, all the way from Iowa, promptly returned it and enjoyed doing the right thing — rather than cashing in on the find.
Jim Denney had lost the wallet in the Lake of the Woods while also on an outing for some walleye last year he had assumed he would never have seen it or its contents ever again.
But the man couldn’t have been more wrong.
To Denney’s surprise and good fortune, the wallet was not only found, but he discovered there are still honest people in a world where everyone seems to be doing with a little bit less, thanks to the economy.
The Minnesota news site InForum covered the story and spoke to both the farmer and the teen who caught a wad of cash — a young man named Connor Halsa.
A 14-year-old Moorhead boy has one of the best fishing stories of the summer to tell. There’s just one thing. It has nothing to do with a fish. https://t.co/tFmrcKavL4
— InForum (@inforum) August 22, 2023
The boy explained to the outlet that he had cast his line out on the massive lake on the Canadian border and was certain he was about to reel in a memorable catch.
It was memorable, but not for the reason the high school freshman thought it would be.
“We were doing a walleye drift, so we stopped the boat, put some spinners on, and let the waves take us,” Halsa told the outlet. “I thought I had a huge fish, so I set the hook really hard.”
The teen was able to wrangle in a wallet while his cousin helped him scoop it out of the water.
“My cousin opened the wallet up, and he said some words you probably shouldn’t say, and he showed everyone, and we took the money out and let it dry out,” Halsa said.
The wallet contained $2,000 in cash.
Halsa said, ”My dad said we should give it to the person, and I said we should, too.”
Inside the wallet, the family found a business card that had Denney’s phone number on it.
Denny told InForum that the odds of getting the wallet back were not in his favor and he also explained how he lost it on a fishing trip.
“The water was really rough, and I was sitting on the back of the boat and it was rocking back and forth, and it worked itself out and slipped off into the water,” Denney said.
He didn’t even notice it was missing until the time came to pay the bill at the resort he was staying at. The Iowa farmer relied on the help of his friends to get him out of a jam and moved on with his life.
But fate had other plans.
“I tell you what, I have the billfold in my hands, and it is still hard to believe,” Denney said.
According to InForum, the lake is about one million acres in size.
“The odds of ever finding or hooking a billfold in 20 feet of water — I don’t think there’s a number,” said Denney.
To his surprise, Halsa refused to even accept a cash reward for finding the wallet and returning it to him. He was stunned.
“To meet people like that, who are that honest, I tried to get them to take the money, and they wouldn’t do it,” he told the outlet.
He also had some very warm words for the 14-year-old.
“I would take Connor as a grandson any day, and I would fight for him any day,” the farmer said.
But the teen said he simply did what anyone who found themselves in his shoes should have done.
“Be nice to everyone and give back,” he said. “We didn’t work hard for the money, [Denney] did. It was his money.”
When you think about all the cool items a kid could buy with $2,000, this story really warms the heart. But some things to some people are still more important than free money in a day and age where it seems like greed rules and asking for a modicum of decency seems like a tall order.
In spite of how grim the news can be some days, it is always refreshing to have a reminder that there are people out there who just want to share a little bit of kindness and humility.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.