A tricycle operator in Kaduna, Ayuba Yusuf, who returned N100,000 forgotten by a passenger, said on Monday that the reaction of some members of the public, took him by surprise.
Yusuf, a Diploma certificate holder in Public Administration, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that although few people commended him, a lot more scolded him for being ‘foolish’ for returning such amount in this ‘time of hardship’.
Narrating how it happened, the tricycle operator said on 19th October, a lady with children flagged him at exactly 6.45pm, barely 15 minutes to the time of 7pm, when tricyclist must be off the road for the day.
“I told her it was late but she pleaded with me to help her, as she had some small children, and was probably returning from a trip.
“Out of pity, I obliged, and at great risk, after which she paid her fare and I left hurriedly to beat the 7pm closing time fixed by the state government.
“But upon reaching home, I saw a bag forgotten in my tricycle, apparently belonging to the woman, and upon opening same, saw some clothing materials, cosmetics, and money, which I decided not to touch,” he narrated.
Yusuf, aged 44, and father of four children, said he drew the attention of his wife and they both resorted to listening to the radio to hear if the owner would sponsor an announcement.
“ My wife later heard an announcement on the missing bag through Liberty radio, Kaduna, and drew my attention, after which I returned the items, including the money.
“The woman was so elated that she gave me N10,000 out of the money, which I rejected, but she insisted that I should accept same.
“Some people at the station intervened by insisting that I accept the gift, which I did reluctantly by collecting only N4,000, and giving some others at the scene, N6,000 to share,” he said.
Yusuf, who took to the commercial tricycle transportation business for lack of white collar job upon graduation, explained that the tricycle he was riding belonged to some one else, and that his weekly Returns to the owner, was N15,000.
He said his greatest disappointment was that while some people lauded his sense of honesty, a lot more castigated him for, in their words, being “foolish enough to return such amount of money in this hard times”.
“I am of the belief that what is not mine, cannot be mine; unfortunately, I received calls from most people castigating me for being foolish enough to return such amount of money in this hard times.
“They were surprised that such honesty was displayed by a tricycle operator, of all people, whom they felt, ought to have capitalised on this opportunity to empower himself financially,” he added.
Also speaking to NAN, the owner of the money, Mrs Maryam Umar, said she felt relieved after collecting the bag containing the money and other items.
“ I was so happy; I never knew that such people still abound in our society today; I commend him for his honesty; how I wish all people will always display such attitude”, she said.