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Thanks to the dedicated efforts of workers at a New Jersey recycling plant, a 12-year-old boy has been reunited with his life savings -- after they were mistakenly thrown out by his mom, NBC 4 New York reports.
Max Becker was away at Boy Scout camp when his mother and her partner decided to throw out a couple of old computers that had been lying unused around the house.
“Any little thing hanging around, I want out,” his mom Dorothy Ferrante told The New York Times. “We’re a big recycling family. Every scrap.”
Little did Ferrante know, however, that one of the old CPUs contained Max's most precious possessions.
The secret stash included $300 in cash, a wallet, gift cards and a photograph of sentimental value. Max said he had been hiding his valuables from his untrustworthy twin sister.
"I was so upset because it's, like, all my money," Max told NBC 4 New York, adding that he had been saving up for a week-long Boy Scout camp this summer.
Feeling terrible about her mistake, Ferrante told TODAY.com that she desperately made an attempt to find the discarded CPU.
After several calls, she learned that it had been taken to a recycling center run by Sims Recycling Solutions in Edison, N.J.
With hundreds of computers to sift through, however, it seemed that Max would never see his possessions again.
“It was definitely the proverbial needle in the haystack,” said Sean Magann, the company's commercial director. “But this was a kid, with his life savings. We said, ‘We’re going to find this.’ ”
Incredibly, Magann was able to keep his word.
It took workers at the plant four days to dig through 700 computers, but they finally found the CPU.
"[A worker] came running to me into my office, 'Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy...We found it! We found it! We found the kid's money,'" said plant manager Jimmy Coe. "'We found it in the computer.'"
This week, the Boy Scout got his money back — and a special tour of the plant to boot.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," said a very appreciative Max.
For more on this story, watch this TODAY.com interview with Max, his mom and Jimmy Coe: