Homeless Man Finds Old Couch in Dumpster, Turns Cushion over and Sees a Large Zipper — Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
Feb 26, 2022
12:20 P.M.
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A homeless man befriends a sick abandoned kitten and it leads him to find a fortune in jewels inside a tatty old couch in a dumpster.


When Joseph Sullivan left his small town in Kansas and went to Los Angeles to make his fortune, he never imagined he'd be living on the streets, scrounging for scraps in the dumpsters behind restaurants.

Joseph had been determined to make it as a screenwriter, and his luggage he carried three screenplays which he intended to use to get an agent, in his pocket, he had $6,000 to see him through the first months, and in his heart was an ambition fueled by love for Janice Yates. 

Joseph was madly in love with Janice since primary school when she was the girl in pigtails who scorned him. Fifteen years later, Janice was still scorning Joseph, but for very different reasons.


They'd been dating for three years when Joseph proposed and her reaction had broken his heart. Janice had laughed, and said coldly, "Come on, Joe, I can't marry a poor man!" she said. "We've had fun, but that's all it is! You can't give me the life I'm used to."

Janice was used to luxury. Her father was one of the richest men in the state and nothing was too good for his only daughter. Janice certainly believed Joseph wasn't good enough for her.

When Joseph boarded that Greyhound to Los Angeles, his goal was to make it big, become a Hollywood bigwig, prove Janice wrong and get her to beg him to take her back...

Joseph was madly in love with Janice since primary school. | Source: Unsplash


Joseph passed the long hours of his journey in pleasant daydreams, but when he arrived in California, he found reality much less pleasant. He got off the bus, his suitcase in hand, and looked around.

Misfortune can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime.

There were what seemed to be hundreds of thousands of people milling around and ignoring each other. Joseph didn't know where to go so he walked over to a cab that had pulled over in front of what looked like a sleazy bar of the worse kind.

The driver was leaning against the car door, chewing a toothpick. "Excuse me," Joseph said. "I've just arrived in Los Angeles and I'm looking for a place to stay -- somewhere central and not too expensive."


"Sure, buddy," the man said with a smile that showed a lot of shiny teeth. "Get in! I'll take you to a nice clean place, and very reasonable!" So Joseph put his suitcase into the boot and got into the cab, placing his life in a stranger's hands.

"Come on, Joe, I can't marry a poor man!" she said. | Source: Unsplash


Joseph woke up the next day in a gutter on Hollywood Boulevard, minus his suitcase, his wallet, and his trust in humanity. He had been badly beaten and the clothes on his back were torn and filthy.

He had nothing, not a cent to his name. His scripts were gone and he didn't know anyone in Los Angeles he could turn to. The police told him he'd been robbed by a gypsy cab driver, and though they took note of the complaint, all they could do was recommend a shelter where he could sleep.

That night Joseph didn't sleep a wink. There was no way he was crawling back home a failure, even if he could scrounge up enough money panhandling for bus fare. He couldn't face the mockery in Janice's eyes.


And so began the hardest years of Joseph's life. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't seem to get off the streets. No one would give him a job, no one believed in him, no one cared if he lived or died.

Joseph took a bus to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter. | Source: Unsplash


Then one day Joseph heard a pitiful sound, almost like a baby's cry, and in the shadow of a dumpster, he found a kitten shivering. Some impulse led him to pick up the kitten ad wrap it in his shabby coat.

"Poor thing!" he said. "You picked the wrong rescuer! I can barely feed myself, how am I going to look after you?"

That night, Joseph managed to find food for the kitten, and it slept curled up on his stomach, under his coat, and he woke to its purring.

So the kitten stayed and after a while Joseph couldn't do without it riding on his shoulder, purring in his ear. One afternoon, he was looking for things to salvage and sell in a prosperous area of the city when a woman called to him.


The woman was standing in the driveway of a huge old mansion, and next to her was an elaborate old couch with half the stuffing falling out of the back. "You! Over there!" the woman called. "Do you want to earn $5?"

Joseph was robbed and ended up living on the streets. | Source: Unsplash


Joseph walked over. "Sure," he said. "I sure could use the money!"

"Take this sofa over to the dumpster please," the woman said. "And hopefully they'll take it away with the trash!"

The woman gave Joseph the $5 and he dragged the heavy old couch halfway along the block to the dumpster. When he got there, Joseph was so tired that he sat down on the couch with a sigh of relief.

The kitten immediately jumped on the couch's one remaining whole cushion and started sharpening its claws on it. Then it gave an odd little chirp and stared at the cushion, cocking its head.


Joseph ended up rescuing a kitten. | Source: Unsplash

"What's that, cat?" Joseph asked, "You find a mouse in there?" Curious, Joseph picked up the cushion and turned it over. On the back was a large zipper and underneath, Joseph felt something hard.


He opened the zipper and gasped. There was a glittering pile of jewels in the cushion, and they looked very real to Joseph! Immediately Joseph picked up his kitten and the cushion and jogged back to the woman's house.

He showed her the jewels and the woman was stunned. "This house used to belong to one of those old-time movie stars. The couch was hers, so the jewels must be too!"

The woman was amazed by Joseph's honesty and she vowed to split the value of the jewels with him. It turned out to be worth a lot of money, enough to set Joseph up in his own apartment.

Thanks to his cat, Joseph found jewels in the old sofa. | Source: Unsplash


The woman's husband was a movie producer and he was interested in Joseph's ideas. Before long, Joseph was seeing his first screenplay approved and he was interviewed on TV.

To his surprise, he received a visitor -- none other than his old sweetheart Janice who was now very interested in him seeing he had money and a career in the movies. But Joseph was the one who wasn't interested.

"I'm sorry Janice," he said. "I have to tell you that I need more than just a pretty face, I need a good and loving heart -- and you don't have one!"

What can we learn from this story?

  • Misfortune can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. Joseph thought his dream was about to come true but he ended up living on the streets.
  • Luck comes along in the most unexpected ways. In Joseph's case, his kindness to the kitten brought him a huge reward.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a poor woman who asks to buy some pie at a gourmet restaurant and is mocked, but one man stands up for her and teaches them all a lesson in humility.

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