They say that kids do the funniest things, but Ben and Jackee Belnap likely weren’t laughing when they discovered what their little boy had done with a substantial amount of their money. ’Whats more, after their toddler made the calamitous move, the Utah-based couple had to hatch a plan to get the money back.
The Belnaps’ tale of woe had begun after Ben’s parents had kindly purchased the pair some passes for the University of Utah football season. And presumably not wanting to be indebted indefinitely to the older couple, Ben and Jackee saved up their cash in order to soon return the financial favor.
Eventually, the conscientious pair had put the grand sum of $1,060 in an envelope that was waiting to be given to its intended recipients. But before the money could be handed over, the envelope itself vanished. Naturally, the Belnaps, therefore, began to look all over their property for the missing item.
In desperation, Ben even chose to delve through the trash. This move had ultimately been in vain, as while he was rummaging, he heard his wife shout at him. It transpired, in fact, that she had found their funds. But the state in which she had discovered their bills wasn’t what either of them must have been hoping for.
Ben quickly saw the reason why recovering the money may have not automatically been good news, too. He recounted the situation to KSL in October 2018, saying, “[Jackee was] holding the shredder, and she says, “I think the money is in here.” At that point, Ben’s heart may have sank right down to his shoes.
Sure enough, the married couple saw the remnants of their banknotes in the shredder. And as they sifted through the remains of their money, neither of them had any idea what to do next. Their thoughts could very well have turned to the perpetrator of the crime, however.
And that culprit was easier to locate than the lost money itself. You see, Ben and Jackee’s two-year-old son, Leo, is no stranger to the machine in which his mom had eventually found the cash.
In fact, the act of shredding certain items is a little hobby of Leo’s. Jackee later explained to KSL, “Leo helps me shred junk mail and just things with our name on it, or important documents we want to get rid of.”
No doubt this pastime has been very educational for Leo and taught him about the proper methods of disposing of private information printed on paper. But his poor parents probably wished he hadn’t taken the initiative this time. After all, some things are just not meant to be shredded. And that includes cold hard cash.
It’s likely, then, that Leo shredded the stuffed envelope when his parents were otherwise occupied. He may have simply thought that he was being useful around the house – not realizing the significance of what he had just mutilated.
And as Ben and his spouse sorted through the shredder’s contents, they were ominously silent. Jackee finally interrupted the quiet, though, by quipping, “Well, this will make a great wedding story one day.” Perhaps, then, there would be a small silver lining: kindly reminding Leo of this mishap when he tied the knot.
But the whole incident wasn’t one that the Belnaps kept to themselves, since Ben would later take to Twitter to recount the ordeal. And before long the post – which also featured a cute picture of his son – received thousands of likes, replies and retweets. If only those figures could be translated into monetary gain…
However, the online reactions to the money-shredding caper were decidedly mixed. One commenter, for example, claimed that Christmas should be canceled for Leo. Only time will tell, though, whether the toddler is placed on Santa’s naughty list for ruining more than $1,000.
Another individual, on the other hand, left a comment calling the little boy “a prodigy.” They additionally suggested that karma had been relatively kind to the Belnaps; after all, letting their offspring operate a shredder could have resulted in an altogether more serious situation.
And yet another person reached out to relate their own story of a shredding accident. “Join the club,” they wrote. “Our older daughter shredded five Amazon gift cards worth $450. It took her a week to piece all but one tiny cross-cut piece together with tape.”
Thankfully, though, Ben and Jackee found a solution to their problem. How? Well, there’s a governmental office that people can reach out to if they have cash that has been somewhat compromised. So, Ben rang the relevant department the day following their disaster. And fortunately for the couple, the man on the other end of the phone confirmed that the office may indeed be able to assist them.
Ben was stunned that this sort of service existed; he may also have been relieved, however, that all was not lost. The dad was subsequently told to “bag [the cash] up in little Ziploc bags [and] mail it to D.C.” The official added, “And in one to two years, you’ll get your money back.”
So, the unfortunate couple may have to be patient, it appears. Maybe when they are reunited with what is rightfully theirs, though, the sum can come out of mischievous Leo’s future wedding fund. Or perhaps a padlock on the shredder will do the trick for the time being.
And yet another silver lining would present itself to the football fans. In reaction to the Belnaps’ plight, Utah Ticket Office tweeted, “Oh no! That’s terrible! Maybe we could help out with a couple extra tickets to an upcoming home game… DM us and we’ll see what we can do!” That generosity hopefully cheered up the Belnaps no end.
It’s worth noting, though, that the ticket office for the Utes did conclude the tweet by issuing the caveat that childcare was not included in the offer. And whether Leo has been reprimanded or not, here’s hoping that the Belnaps will subsequently take care to not mix little children and large amounts of money.