Compassion over Greed

This is another story from New York city, taking place in the heart of midtown. It’s a story of not just one, but two people who each had a clear opportunity to take advantage of a situation. Instead, they didn’t think twice about doing the right thing.

And they restored a woman’s faith in humanity in the process.

Earlier this week, 27-year-old Ken Roller stopped by his local corner coffee cart and ordered his usual drink. While he waited, he glanced over at a newspaper box next to the cart and spotted a $100 bill sitting on top of it. Without even a second thought, he handed it over to cart operator, Emad Youssef, and told him that the bill was obviously lost.

“I trust him. I see him every day,” Roller told the Daily News matter-of-factly about Youssef. “He remembers my coffee order.”

And as for the chances of someone coming back to claim the cash, Roller said, “A hundred dollars is a lot of money. I figured whoever lost it was definitely going to come back for it.”

The 26-year-old Youssef held onto the bill until he saw another regular customer, 40-year-old Rochelle Myers, the next day. She talked about how she had lost $100 the day before… money she was planning to use to buy a new cell phone. She was sure that someone had gone into her wallet at some point during the day and had stolen it.

So you can imagine her surprise when Youssef handed over the bill.

She repaid Youssef and Roller by giving them each a bouquet of flowers, and a huge hug.

“We always think the worst, and I thought the worst immediately, but now my faith is really restored in people,” she said.

An interesting footnote: The journalist who reported this story also referred to a study out of Columbia University that took place in 2007. As part of an experiment to see how honest New Yorkers are, researchers dropped wallets in various places across the city of New York. 82% of them were returned to their owners. 🙂

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