The Briefcase Recap and Review Series Premiere 5/27/15
What would you do if you were given $101,000? All across America, hard working middle class families are feeling the impact of rising debt and shrinking paychecks. But sometimes hope shows up when you least expect it. In the new reality series, The Briefcase, two deserving families receive a briefcase with the money and they have a choice: They can keep all of the money, they can keep some of the money or they can give it all away. Whatever the family doesn’t keep, will go to help another family who is also in need.
Each week, two families have 72 hours to learn details about each other’s challenging circumstances and make the weighty decision of what to do with $101,000. However, what they don’t know is that the family with whom they are considering sharing this financial windfall received an identical briefcase with the same instructions. Throughout their journeys, relationships within both families will be tested and beliefs questioned as they find out what really matters most in their lives, and how much importance they place on values such as love, generosity, compassion and faith.
The Briefcase begins with an introduction to the two families. The first family is the Bergin Family.
Joe: Ice Cream Truck Owner
Kim: Part-Time Event Planner
Three children, ages 15, 13 and 12
Where they Live: Matthews, N.C.
After Joe was laid off from his corporate job 10 years ago, he and his wife, Kim, started an ice cream truck business which is struggling. Unfortunately, the ice cream trucks are in terrible condition and Joe got into a head on collision and is now unable to work at all.
Let’s meet the Bronson Family.
Dave: Injured Retired Iraq Vet
One child, age 3, with another on the way
Where they Live: Manchester, N.H.
Dave is an American hero whose Humvee exploded when he was in Iraq and he lost his leg. He and his wife, Cara, are expecting their second child this summer. Living on one income with a growing family has put a significant amount of stress on the Bronsons.
Both of the families receive a suitcase with $101,000. They are given the briefcase and told it’s for them. The Bergins are beyond excited and cannot believe they were given all this money. The Bronsons are also in shock. They want to pay off all their debt and get a wheelchair accessible home.
Both of the families are told they have a decision to make and are told the rules. Joe Bergin is okay with giving the money away, while his wife is not. She is the one who is working part time making $15.50 an hour and trying to support the five of them.
The families have 72 hours to decide what they will do. They will learn about each other. But first, they are given the $1,000 to do what they want with it. The Bergin family buys a washer and drawer and also takes the girls shopping. The Bronson family pays off their debt and plan on buying nursery furniture for their new baby.
Both the Bergins and the Bronsons receive a text telling them that Joe and Cara have to go to the bank and deposit money. While their 72 hours aren’t up, the money they are sharing with the other family will remain in the suitcase. This is the first of three trips to the bank. Joe has never made a financial decision for his family and is having a tough time with this. While, Cara is the one who goes to work and brings home the paycheck and Dave doesn’t want to be greedy.
After returning from the bank, Joe comes home with the briefcase and tells his family he decided to give the other family all of the money. Remember, Joe has never managed the family finances – ever! Kim is upset, as she knows what dire straits the family is in. Meanwhile, Cara gave $40,000 and kept $60,000. Dave is not happy with her decision as he didn’t want her to keep any it.
Since the decision isn’t final, Joe tells his wife he has had a change of heart and would like to keep all the money. They need it.
But before the 2nd trip to the bank, Joe and his wife are given some background about the Bronson family. They learn they are $81,000 in debt and earn $69,400 a year. They learn Cara works the nightshift, while Dave stays at home with his son due to an injury. Joe said it doesn’t change his mind as it wasn’t anything he hasn’t been through. He feels as though they have paid their dues.