Hoping to check for an ID, Rhami Zeini picked up the purse and was left surprised when he discovered $10,000 inside it.
What would you do if you found a wad of cash lying around? Would you quietly pocket it or hand it over to its rightful owner? Well, for a 16-year-old boy in California, it was not something he had to think much about. Rhami Zeini was on his way home from school when he spotted a purse lying on the road. Curious about its owner, he walked into the street, picked up the wallet, and opened it to look for an ID. What he saw next was not something he was expecting. There was $10,000 in cash, reported Fox8. Zeini revealed that it was more money than he had ever seen in his life.
It's only natural for people to get tempted, but not for Zeini, who took the purse and its contents to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office so that it could be returned to its owner. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" is the Golden rule that the teenager lives by. "To me, I figured this is the right thing to do if I take it and find whoever’s purse it was because if the roles were reversed and I had lost something with a significant sum of money inside, I know I would want it back for sure," he said.
Thankfully, the Sherriff’s deputies were able to locate the owner of the purse and eventually hand it over to her. Apart from reuniting her with her possession, the deputies informed the woman about Zeini's honest act that helped with the process immensely. Touched by the young boy's gesture, the owner reportedly gave him a $100 reward. But she wasn't the only one who was impressed by his actions, folks over at the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office were equally in awe of the 16-year-old.
"A Santa Barbara teen found a purse in the roadway w/ $10,000 dollars inside. We commend him for doing the right thing and bringing it to the Sheriff's Office. We found the grateful owner. What a great example of doing the right thing even when no one is watching," they wrote on their official Twitter handle, praising the teenager. It's so inspiring the see people as young as Zeini do the right thing without any intervention. Just last year, a teenager displayed a similar approach when he came across an even bigger sum of unclaimed money.
Jose Nuñez Romaniz, a criminal justice student at Central New Mexico Community College, was on his way to the bank when he came across a clear plastic bag filled with cash next to an atm in Albuquerque. "When I first saw it, I kind of stared at it for a few seconds, not knowing what to do," recalled Romaniz, who was 19 at the time of the discovery which happened on May 3. "I was very shocked. I’ve never seen so much money." A tag on the outside of the bag said that it contained $60,000 in $20 bills and police later counted and found an additional $75,000 in $50 bills. But never for one moment did Romaniz think about keeping the money. "It never passed through my mind to keep any of it," he said according to New York Times.
Shortly after, he called 911 and moved the cash to his car so others could use the atm. When officers arrived they were in disbelief as they initially thought it was a prank call. "I’ve seen a lot of stuff in 21 years, but this was unique and refreshing for the department and city. I think this is the biggest amount of money found in Albuquerque and returned," said Officer Simon Drobik, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman. His good deed earned him a huge honor. Jose and his family had been invited to a ceremony, attended by 50 people, whh=uch was held to celebrate him.
"Man, we all know that temptation. Even just to take a little, just one of those bundles off the top. I mean that had to be really hard," said Mayor Tim Keller during the ceremony as he commended the teenage's action. Jose was awarded a plaque, sports gear, gift cards, and even a $500 scholarship from an electric company. "My parents got emotional, my mom mostly. I was more nervous than anything because it was my first time on the news," he recalled of the event. Looks like Jose is already on his way to becoming an honest crime investigator. "I’ve wanted to be a crime scene investigator or a detective for the police since I was a kid. I already had my mind set on that," he said.
Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | WWLP-22News