A story out of Moorehead, Minnesota, originally reported by WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota, is remarkable because it combines incredible fortune and commendable generosity. When these things come together, we must share them with everyone on Upworthy.
Connor Halsa, 14, was fishing with his family on Lake of the Woods, a large body of water between Minnesota and Canada with over 14,000 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. It’s known as a fisherman’s paradise and the Walleye Capital of the World.
Connor felt a tug on the end of his fishing line and thought he caught a fish. “I thought I had a huge fish, so I set the hook really hard,” Connor told WDAY reporter Kevin Wallevand. But when his cousin grabbed what he had caught off the hook and netted it, they realized that it wasn’t a fish but a billfold.
“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,” Connor said. When they counted up the cash in the wallet, it amounted to $2,000.
There was no question to the Halsas that they would do the right thing with the money. “My dad said we should give it to the person, and I said we should, too,” Connor said.
It’s impossible to calculate the odds of Connor dredging up the wallet from the bottom of the lake. Lake of the Woods is 70 miles long and 70 miles wide, and he just happened to nab the billfold and reel it into the boat.
They found a business card inside the wallet that helped them track down its owner, Iowa farmer Jim Denney. He says that he lost the wallet while fishing about a year ago. Denney drove up from his farm in Red River Valley, Iowa, to Moorehead, Minnesota, to retrieve his wallet, and when he arrived, he offered Connor a reward. But the teenager refused to take any money. However, he did accept a gift from Denney—a personalized cooler. The farmer also took the Halsa family to dinner.
Denney was also blown away by the chances of his wallet being found. He believes the wallet slipped out of his back pocket while fishing. “The odds of ever, ever finding a billfold in there, of hooking a billfold in 20 foot of water, I don’t think there would be a number,” he told WDAY.
It’s also incredible that the wallet and its contents were still relatively intact after all that time in the lake. Winters in that part of the world are harsh.
“To meet people like that, who are that honest, I tried to get them to take the money, and they wouldn’t do it,” Denney said of the Halsa family. “I would take Connor as a grandson any day, and I would fight for him any day,” he added.
For Connor, it was all about doing what was right.
“Be nice to everyone and give back. We didn’t work hard for the money, he did. It was his money,” he said.