SEATTLE - Laura D'Asaro was geocaching with a friend over the weekend when she found much more than she was bargaining for.
"Yeah! We found cash!" said the bright-eyed college student.
In the mud and leaves along North Seattle's Meadowbrook Holding Pond, she found a little white box marked "open me."
"We opened it up and inside are three $20 bills," said D'Asaro. "We were just jumping around, freaking out! Then we saw this little note inside that said 'Random act of kindness. Spend me well.'"
Laura and her friend kept $20 as sort of a "finder's fee," but then they started wondering what to do with the rest.
"Forty dollars can really mean a lot to someone," she said. "We want to make sure we find the right place to put it."
Certainly there are plenty of people to whom $40 is a small fortune.
$40 will buy 60 meals for a family of three through Northwest Harvest. It can provide a micro-loan to a struggling businessman in Africa. It'll even get two flocks of geese to help feed a village in the developing world.
With so many options, D'Asaro says, "We didn't think we knew enough to figure out who could make the best use of the $40."
So, Laura and her friend set up an e-mail account asking the public for suggestions. The best cause -- whether it's an individual or an institution -- will get the money. While she understands some might try to lie their way to a free $40, D'Asaro says she hopes people will be honest.
As for this unexpected adventure in philanthropy, the struggling college student says she doesn't want it to end here.
"It would be fun to plant another box somewhere, maybe not $60. I don't really have $60, but the idea that a small gesture can really make someone's day better is a beautiful concept," she said.
You can e-mail you ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: Since the story aired Monday evening, people have come forward offering to contribute money to the fund, including one person offered to double the amount, another offered $100.