Sixteen-year-old Rhami Zeini in California returned a lost purse with $10,000 inside. Upon locating the owner’s identification cards, Zeini returned the money to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Zeini was driving home from school when he stopped for a purse left on the road Wednesday, Sept. 12, according to CBS News. After deliberating on what to do, he decided to contact his parents for their advice. Zeini immediately reported the purse to the sheriff’s office.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department was shocked and overjoyed that this teen decided to do the right thing. The owner of the purse was ecstatic to have the purse returned.
“She believes she left it on the roof of her car when she drove away,” according to a statement by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department.
Today’s generation is portrayed as greedy and selfish, but Zeini’s actions reflect the exact opposite. The Santa Barbara Police Department described his response as a restoration in humanity.
When placed in an ethical dilemma, many people don’t know how to react. More often than not, a panic will set in during high stress situations. Enlisting others for help appears to be a common theme for most young people, such as Houston Gonzalez, a freshman musical performance major.
“There is no way I could’ve kept all that money and gotten away with it,” Gonzalez said. “I probably would have been like ‘oh snap,’ and called 911.”
Zeini had the same idea as Gonzalez. Neither would have, or ever attempted to handle the situation alone. Zeini immediately enlisted his parents and eventually the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department.
“To me, I figured this is the right thing to do 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,” Zeini said to KCOY-TV.
People lose and find an array of random items every day, but the question arises on if they are typically returned.
Washburn’s campus has its fair share of lost and stolen items turned in almost everyday. Most, if not all, of these items are given to Washburn University Police Department.
“We get a pretty constant stream of property turned in, whether it’s lost books, computers, keys, iCards, anything like that,” said Marcus Herrera, Washburn police officer.
Lost books are something that can be easily replaced, but a large sum of money seems to be much more valuable and likely to be stolen.
Washburn Police has had purses and wallets returned along with the commonly misplaced items stated before. Most of the purses included a decent amount of money or important documents.
“It’s usually surprising that there is still money in there. It’s really good to know that we have honest people out there who will still turn those things in,” Herrera said.
Morality and ethicality are important qualities to have. Today’s generation is often questioned about these concepts by their elders. Herrera explained that he has more experience in honesty with students rather than faculty or the older generation.
“I see tons of students from teens to early 20s who are forthcoming with that kind of thing,” Herrera said.
The owner of the purse awarded $100 to Zeini as a token of appreciation. American society tends to rely heavily on rewards and prizes for doing the bare minimum, and many question if a reward was necessary or not.
Zeini’s actions are an example of positivity from Generation Z.
Cash rewards are common in cases that are at high risk. Whether that is stolen items, missing people or lost pets. In this case, it was a purse with a small fortune of $10,000 that had been misplaced.
However, a rather large portion of the population will simply do good things for their own personal gratification or innate kindness.
“I wouldn’t have expected a reward, but in hindsight, she obviously has a lot of money she could’ve given him,” Gonzalez said.
Herrera agrees that rewards are a good idea, but do not have to be through the form of money.
“We [WUPD] try to give recognition through social media and certificates to show our graciousness for their honesty,” Herrera said.
Performing good deeds, such as returning lost items, are important contributions to society. Zeini, as well as Washburn students, have shown integrity through their actions of kindness.