Peering down into a running river, there are many things we’d expect to see, from rocks, to fish, to plant life. But a boy in Austria looked into the Danube and saw something moving through the water that was completely stunning.
It is incredible to think that the start of the Danube is formed at the mouth of two streams in Germany’s Black Forest. From there, it grows into the European Union’s longest river and the second-longest on the continent.
The Danube snakes its way through ten European countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Its path cuts through four countries’ capitals too – Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna.
It was its situation on the water that brought the Celts to what would become Vienna in 500 B.C. Since then, the city has been inhabited continuously as part of the Babenberg dynasty, the Habsburg dynasty, the Holy Roman Empire and Austro-Hungarian empire.
It wasn’t until the end of World War I that Vienna became the capital city of the First Republic of Austria. Today, the city is well known for its ties to the arts, especially classical music. The likes of Beethoven and Mozart have made music in Vienna.
But the Austrian capital on the Danube set an entirely different scene in December of 2015. It was then that a boy just so happened to notice something floating through Vienna’s river – something too good to be true.
The flickers of red and green were moving through a section of the Danube over a weekend that December. The boy must have moved closer, squinting perhaps, to confirm what he was seeing there in the water.
He had, indeed, seen clearly – €500 and €100 notes were drifting through Vienna’s stretch of the Danube. In December the city’s temperatures typically max out in the mid-40s, so hopping into the water would be an chilly experience, to say the least.
But that didn’t stop the boy who saw the money. Instead, he plunged right into the water in an attempt to collect the cash. And in accordance with Austrian law, he was making a fiscally sound decision in doing so.
When money is found in Austria, the person who turns it in to authorities is entitled to five to ten percent of the total amount. The owner then has a year to claim their funds – if they don’t, the person who handed over the cash gets all of it.
Five to ten percent of the money found would be a nice payout for the boy who was collecting notes in the Danube. It turned out that there was €100,000, or roughly $115,000, drifting through the water.
There was a problem, though. Bystanders had witnessed the young boy jumping into the river. They suspected his intentions were not to collect a floating fortune but rather to commit suicide. So they called the police.
By the time the police arrived, the boy had begun to gather the cash. Firefighters stepped in to finish the task, fishing the rest of the soggy euros from the Danube. With that, the officials had potential cause to stop the boy from earning his finder’s fee.
According to the Daily Express, a police spokesman said, “The boy said he wanted to bring it to police, but the question is whether the police found it or the boy.” Still, reports stated that he would, indeed, attempt to claim his share of the money.
While he’d have to wait for his finder’s fee – and, potentially, the full payout, if no one claimed the money – police tried to find the money’s source. They announced that they couldn’t link the cash to any sort of criminal activity.
Of course, the boy in Vienna wasn’t the first to find a large sum of cash and do something extraordinary with it. Robby Robinson, who owned his own pest control business in Florida, happened upon a bank sack in the middle of a busy street in February of 2018.
He opened it to find it had a stack of cash inside. There was also a receipt from the bank from which the money had been withdrawn. And that was enough to inspire Robinson’s next move.
He took the bag, hopped in his car and drove off – to the bank address listed on the receipt. He told USA Today, “I said, ‘Hey, I found this bank bag. It belongs to somebody, and there’s a receipt in there.’” Robinson added that the teller “was elated somebody would do this.”
Robinson didn’t earn a finder’s fee, but he did snap a picture of the bag, which he posted to Facebook along with the bag’s location to help its owner find their lost money. Commenters lauded his actions, but one in particular was especially touched by Robinson’s actions, and for good reason.
Robbie Lewis commented that he was the person who had lost the bank sack full of cash. Lewis commented, “I was a wreck over this.” And he continued, “I thank you Robby for your actions. I really do appreciate it.” But Robinson wouldn’t accept much praise for his good deed. “I was just doing something we should all do,” he told USA Today.