When 16-year-old Bendik Hallstensen found a handbag on an Oslo-area commuter train on Wednesday, he peered into it in the hopes of finding some identification. He did, along with the dizzying amount of NOK 467,200 (around USD 80,000) in cash. He called police right away, and they were as surprised as he was.
“I thought, ‘wow,’ that’s a lot of money,” he told website VG Nett on Thursday. He was on his way from the school he attends in Ski, south of Oslo, to Vestby when he spotted the women’s handbag lying on a train seat as he headed down the aisle to meet a friend.
“I thought the owner of the bag had just left her seat for awhile and would return, but nothing happened,” Hallstensen told VG. “I asked my friend if it was her bag, and she said ‘no.'”
So he opened the bag and found all the cash, neatly bound in stacks of bills and wrapped in plastic. There was also a passport in the purse, so the owner could be tracked down.
Police said later that they’re opening a routine investigation because the amount of cash was so large, but NRK reported them as saying that the money came from a business and seemed legitimate. They praised the honesty of Hallstensen and his friend and were recommending they receive a reward.
“I’m just a person who likes to think happy thoughts and has faith in others,” Hallstensen told VG. “I like to think others would have done the same thing. I have read that the owner (of the handbag) was happily reunited with the money, and that’s the most important.”