Commentary: Honesty prevails when a big box of cash is found

This might make me a snake, but I’d have been sorely tempted to take the moldy hundred grand in the strongbox nobody knew about. Jennifer Taylor was raised better.

“I couldn’t have lived with myself taking that money,” she said.

How about you? Times are tough. Say you came across some money — a lot of it — that no one knew existed because the owner had passed away without telling anyone about his stash, not even his wife.

Would you keep it, knowing you’d probably never be found out? Or would you do the, uh, right thing?

Our story begins with the death of a 90-year-old Kansas City woman. As trustee for the estate, attorney Tom Lasley was charged with contacting beneficiaries, locating and disposing of all assets, etc.

That meant hiring someone to go through the house, find what was worth saving and get rid of the rest. That someone was Taylor, who runs a company called Clear it Out that specializes in that sort of work.

Lasley had a special request: “One thing I told them is you might be on the lookout for cash.”

You know what they say about children of the Great Depression: Didn’t trust banks, or only to a point. When the old man died 10 or so years ago, his wife found a small stash of cash in the house. So when she passed, Lasley figured more might be squirreled away that the wife had missed.

Sure enough, Taylor’s crew soon found a Band-Aid tin stuffed with $100 bills — $4,000 in all.

She turned it over. Every dime of it, and Lasley could tell.

To read the complete column, visit www.kansascity.com.