Life: ‘People can turn around’

“Ryan jumped out and got the bag and opened it up, revealing a thick wad of hundred dollar bills inside.”

Back in the last century, when I taught high school journalism for a dozen years, the kids had something called the Fred File. It was a collection of never used story ideas that they could call on when they needed more copy.

Like the night a reporter busted into the room and announced, “Can’t run the new curriculum story. Principal says it’s still not approved.”

There were a few groans among the editors until one of them said, “See what we got in the Fred File.”

The reporter looked through the Fred folder and finally said,“There’s nothing here worth writing.”

The editor, a bright, no-nonsense guy, wouldn’t take an excuse like that. “Find something or we’re going to print twelve column inches of consecutive locker numbers under your byline.”

This all came to mind last week when the post I was working on for this week didn’t pan out and I needed a substitute. I went to my Fred File, and after much searching and groaning, I came upon the story of the Moi siblings of Eugene, Oregon. I had made notes about them three years ago but never turned it into a post. Eugene is a lovely area, and home to Oregon State University, which is noted for its extensive research and its football and basketball championships

I can’t remember the number of times we drove through there on our way to Seattle. In the early years of our marriage we stayed at the Village Green in nearby Cottage Grove. It was — and I guess still is — a lovely place with a terrific chef.

The Moi story was a three-year-old collection of notes about young Ryan Moi, then 26, and Katie Moi, then 21, who had a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Driving in Eugene one afternoon they spotted a bank bag lying in the road.

According to the International Science Times, Katie slowed to avoid hitting the bag and then pulled over. Ryan jumped out and got the bag and opened it up,revealing a thick wad of hundred dollar bills inside. Also inside was a deposit slip indicating the name of the financial institution for which the deposit was intended.

(C) Comstock

(C) Comstock

It doesn’t take much imagination to write the next few moments of conversation between them. But after some ethical to-ing-and-fro-ing, they decided to take the loot home to their dad, Erik.

Erik was in another part of the house when they arrived, but he heard them screaming that they had just found $13,000.   He asked what they wanted to do with it, and they said return it.

So Erik took it to the manager at a branch near his home. “I said ‘Kyle, you missing something?’ And I handed him the bag and he just kind of turned white,” he recalled.

The bank gave Katie and Ryan gift cards and a reader who came across the story bought Katie a new laptop to replace the one that was stolen, according to ABC.

Life for the Moi siblings hadn’t been without its setbacks. Both had been through alcohol rehab. But now she was pursing a medical career in college and he was planning to start a contracting company.

This story was covered by various news organizations, several of which reported how some people criticized them for returning the money. But the Mois were satisfied with their actions.

“Just because you’ve had troubles in the past doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person,” Ryan told ABC, “and, you know, people can turn around.”

Erik said that at another time in their lives, they might not have returned the money.

I know, I know, this doesn’t have much to do with seniors. So sue me, because regardless, I want everyone to know about the Mois.

Dave Riley

About Dave Riley

Growing Old Isn’t For Sissies is about aging. It’s stories of how some older people achieve remarkable successes, how some people make the lives of others better, and how all seniors have hurdles to face — maladies, loss of loved ones and more.