A Santa Barbara, California, high school junior was driving home from school Wednesday when he noticed a black purse in the middle of the street. He rescued the purse from the roadway and was shocked by what he found inside: $10,000.
Rhami Zeini, 16, says he opened the purse to find the owner’s identification and was surprised when he discovered more money than he had ever seen in his life, reports CBS affiliate KCOY-TV.
Zeini spoke with his parents and then did the right thing by turning in the small fortune to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
A Santa Barbara teen found a purse in the roadway w/ $10,000 dollars inside. We commend him for doing the right thing and turning it in 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. #sbsheriff pic.twitter.com/iJbOO9dJeW
— SB Sheriff’s Office (@sbsheriff) September 15, 2018
“To me, I figured this is the right thing to do,” Zeini told KCOY-TV, “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.”
The sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post that a watch officer was able to contact the owner and return the money to her, writing she “was very grateful.”
Zeini wasn’t left empty-handed for his good deed…
Kelly Hoover, public information officer for the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, told KCOY-TV the owner says she was going on a hike and probably left her purse on the roof of her car, then accidentally drove away.
She “was very grateful” to see her savings returned to her and gave Zeini $100 as a token of her appreciation.
Some have criticised the meagre reward, saying the woman should have been more generous, given the amount of money at stake.
That’s great that there is still honest people in the world butttttt, a $100 Reward for finding the 10k you irresponsibly lost???? Seriously?? Lucky he didnt make it a 10k reward all for himself.
— Mike (@Mike86871092) September 17, 2018
I hope his reward comes in the form of exposure that will catapult him to great things. That $100 is hardly recompense.
— Girard (@homnoir) September 17, 2018
Hawkins Marva said on Facebook: “I would have given him more than $100 that’s a lot of money she could have lost forever.”
Elyse Tedesco added: “What a cheapskate $100.00, really? I would have gave him $1,000 for returning it.”
Varga Péter sarcastically said: “A $100 reward – well, she was soooo generous!”
Despite the meagre reward, Zeini says his conscience is clear after returning the cash.