Norwegian Man Finds Nearly $40,000 in a Fireplace, Gives It All to Charity

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Since Norway is one of the world’s most generous countries, it only makes sense that some of its residents would share the trait. According to the Associated Press, a man in Oslo recently found nearly $40,000 hidden underneath the fireplace of his new apartment—and he gave it all to charity instead of collecting on a serendipitous payday.

Vemund Thorkildsen, a 27-year-old Norwegian real estate broker, found the money while showing off the place to his friends, The Local reports. While speculating whether a fireplace could be moved to another room, Thorkildsen lifted one of its top stone slabs. An object inside the flue caught his eye, and Thorkildsen’s companions helped him climb inside the duct. Thorkildsen ended up finding four envelopes stuffed full of Norwegian bank notes. The total sum? Nearly 350,000 kroner, or $38,000.

“To begin with, I broke out into a cold sweat. After that, we hopped around screaming. I thought this was only something that happened in bad American movies,” Thorkildsen told Norwegian paper Verdens Gang.

Thorkildsen and his friends celebrated the find. “But then I thought, this not my money,” he told the Associated Press. Since the elderly couple that lived in the apartment before him had donated their estates to a Norwegian cancer foundation called Kreftforeningen, Thorkildsen decided to keep their generosity going and give the cash to the nonprofit (he had purchased the apartment from Kreftforeningen). Plus, it “felt nice to give it to something good like the cancer foundation,” he told the AP.

While Thorkildsen said it would have been nice to spend the money on a vacation, his act earned him praise from media outlets—and admiration from Kreftforeningen. “I’m impressed that someone can be so honest. He could have easily not told anyone about it, so we are happy that he gave the money to us,” Ole Aleksander Opdalshei, a spokesman for the cancer society, told Verdens Gang.

[h/t The Associated Press]