What would you do if you happened to stumble upon a purse on the street that contained more cash than you’ve ever seen in your whole life?
Rhami Zeini, a 16-year-old Laguna Blanca High School junior in Santa Barbara, California, was confronted with such a situation one Wednesday in September.
While Zeini was driving home from school, he spotted a black purse lying in the middle of a road in the Turnpike area.
Assuming someone might have dropped it, he got out of the car to pick up the purse from the roadway.
When he looked inside the purse to search for the owner’s contact information, he saw a wad of $100 bills, totaling $10,000.
For most teenagers, $10,000 is a large sum of money. But Zeini was not tempted to keep the purse and consulted his parents instead.
The honest young man then did the right thing. Accompanied by his parents, he turned in the purse, including every bill inside, to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
“To me, I figured this is the right thing to do,” Zeini told KCOY-TV. “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.”
Indeed, the owner was extremely grateful when the police returned her the purse, with not a penny missing.
According to Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, the woman had likely left her purse on the roof of her car before she drove off for a hiking trip.
To show her appreciation, the woman rewarded Zeini with $100.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office also took to social media to praise Zeini for his honesty.
“Thank you Rhami for doing so many things right from observing the purse in the first place, stopping to get it, contacting your parents for help and for turning it in,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook.
The Sheriff’s Office tweeted, “What a great example of doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”
Many social media users, who read the story, applauded Zeini for his good deed.
“Excellent moral and civic example to be imitated by all. My sincere congratulations to that brilliant young man,” one user wrote.
“So proud of your honesty! You will go far in life with your ideals,” another remarked.
Meanwhile, some users thought the $100 reward was too little for returning a purse with $10,000 cash inside.
“What a weak reward… How about 500 or 1000 lady?” one user criticized.
Alluding to the meager reward, one user commented: “One does not do a good deed in the hope of being rewarded. One does a good deed because it is the right thing to do.”
That’s right! Regardless of whether or not there is praise and recognition to be had, we should always do the right thing, just as a Chinese proverb goes, “A clear conscience is the greatest armor.”
Imagine you’re the person who has lost the cash-filled purse. How would you feel? If everyone chooses to do the right thing, the world will be a better place!
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Social experiment: Someone’s just dropped his money in public, how will people react?