Discovering treasure in an unlikely place is a dream that we all harbor from a young age. Desperate to live out our Captain Jack Sparrow fantasies – minus the risk of scurvy and a peg leg – we thrive off the idea that there are jewels hiding in plain sight waiting to be discovered.
Whether it be digging up your garden in search of stacks of cash or simply just checking the bar floor for a soggy dropped dollar, we are all guilty of treasure hunting.
Like a pig in pursuit of a truffle, us humans seem to have a knack for discovering hidden gold. If you don’t believe me, then the story of Maria Colonna-Emanuel and her husband Matthew will really have you convinced.
For a number of years, the couple, from Staten Island in New York, had remained clueless that there was a small fortune concealed in their garden.
It wasn’t until, by chance, they decided to re-model their lawn that they came to discover the truth about their garden’s worth.
Whilst replacing the trees around the perimeter of their yard, the couple stumbled upon a metal box partially buried under some soil. Concerned that they may disturb a cable box, they called in the professionals.
However, the metal box didn’t contain reams of wires. Instead, it was filled with items much more valuable – priceless, some may say.
Astonished, Maria and Matthew pulled soggy bags full of diamonds, rubies and other sensational jewels from the box, but their haul wouldn’t end there.
For an exclusive look inside the treasure trove, watch this video…
In addition to the piles of exotic jewels, Maria and Matthew also found $52,000 in cash nestled in the safety deposit box.
“There were all these bags with hundreds and jewelry, diamonds, engagement rings, dozens of rings, gold with jade,” Matthew said. “It was stunning.”
But before they could celebrate and shower themselves in the stunning swag, they found something else which halted their momentary elation – a note.
On the damp note was an address, one which Maria and Matthew recognized as one of the houses in their small neighborhood.
Determined to do the right thing, they decided to visit the house and ask some vital questions.
Knocking on the door, they no doubt had some reservations about their decision. I mean, who would notice if they kept the treasure trove? Ultimately, their conscious got the better of them.
“First I knocked on the door and I asked them if they were ever robbed and they said they were,” Matthew said.
This was corroborated by the NYPD who had a report of the 2011 incident, which detailed the contents of the safety deposit box down to every last dime. It was a conclusive match.
Seeing no alternative, they returned the safety deposit box and its entire contents to the rightful owners.
“A couple of people asked us, ‘Why did you return it?’,” explains Maria. “It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours.”
Yet despite returning the huge haul of priceless family possessions to the victims, Matthew and Maria were never rewarded even so much as a dollar – but they believe that the good karma they now deserve is their payment.
In a similar situation, it’s hard to know what you’d do. Would you give it back to the person who truly deserves it? Or, would you keep it as your little secret?