A Liberian teenager who recently made national headlines after he returned missing $50,000 to a businesswoman who lost it has been rewarded by President George Weah for his good deed.
According to the Associated Press, Emmanuel Tuloe, 18, found the lost bundle of cash on a highway while he was driving his motorcycle taxi. The money in question belonged to a businesswoman who had accidentally dropped it.
“I was afraid because it was plenty (of money) and so I brought it home and gave it to my aunty to keep until the owner could ask for it,” he said.
After realizing she had lost the money, the teen said the businesswoman tearfully went on the radio to appeal to whoever may have found her money to return it. Tuloe said he subsequently returned the missing cash.
As a sign of gratitude, the businesswoman rewarded Tuloe with cash and other items valued at around $1,500. And after the story made national headlines, the president of the West African nation offered to also meet the teen.
At their meeting, President Weah rewarded Tuloe with $10,000, two motorcycles, a scholarship that would cover his education through to the graduate level, and an opportunity to work in the office of the president, BBC reported.
“This scholarship is personal from me and my family, and will be valid whether or not I am President of Liberia,” President Weah said, per the Liberian Observer.
“I want to inform you that, at the next national investiture ceremony, you will be recognized and honored with one of Liberia’s highest Orders of Distinction for your honesty,” he told the teen. “Additionally, I am hereby presenting you, herewith enclosed, an amount of Ten Thousand (US$10,000.00) United States Dollars, as well as two (2) brand-new motorcycles for you to improve your circumstances and sustain yourself financially.”
Even though Tuloe was hailed as a national hero for his honesty, the teen said some of his friends and other people ridiculed him for returning the money as it’s something uncommon in a country ravaged by poverty and still recovering from two civil wars.
“Since the end of the civil war honesty has been a problem here… People just don’t understand why a struggling young man who had to leave school because of difficulties would see money and decide to return it to the owner. So it’s resonating well with people across Liberia,” BBC’s Jonathan Paye-Layleh said.