If you find a tenth of a million bucks lying on the ground, would you pick it up and go home, thanking god for your flexible morals? Or is your virtue inelastic, to the extent that you’re willing to bend your routine to find the owner of the cash?
This pre-primary teacher interrupted her busy routine and did quite a bit of legwork to track down the owner of a bundle of Rs 1 lakh, which the owners were lucky she had found on the floor.
On Saturday morning, Shweta Jain, a teacher at Mahaveer English Medium School in Salisbury Park, had gone to a private telecom company’s office on East Street in Camp. She wanted to port her son’s cell phone number to another carrier and was there to complete the formalities.
While she was standing in the queue, waiting her turn, Jain noticed a bundle of currency notes of Rs 1,000 denomination lying on the ground. No sooner did she spot the bundle, than the attendant called her to his table. She picked up the cash, kept it on his table and completed the formalities.
She then informed him about the find, but was unsure whether the executive would return the money to its rightful owner. So she told him she would go home and check if the money belonged to her.
“I was confused and did not know what to do. I simply returned home and informed my husband Chandrashekhar and father-in-law Kesarimalji Jain about it. My father-in-law became restless and told us that we should immediately report the matter to the police and turn in the money to them. Unsure about where we needed to go, we took help from a family of one retired police officer. They directed us to approach Lashkar police station.”
That same morning, one Nitin Mane, an employee at the Siddhivinayak Ispat Private Limited company in Yerawada, had gone to the telecom office to pay the corporate’s phone bills. The bundle of cash, meant to be deposited in the bank on his next errand for the day, had fallen out of his bag. As the hours passed by, Mane and his employers realised what they had been missing and became anxious.
Manager of the firm Monica Gaikwad said, “One of our employees, Nitin Mane, had gone to the telecom office to pay the cell phone bills. After that, he went to the bank to deposit the cash and there found that the amount he had been carrying was short of Rs 1 lakh. He immediately informed us, and werequested the bank to show us the CCTV footage, but that was of no help.
We then approached the telecom company’s office. There, the surveillance camera footage showed the woman picking up the bundle and informing the executive. We got her contact number and we came to know she had gone to Lashkar police station to return the money.”
Amazed by the teacher’s uprightness, Mane said, “I am thankful to the lady who so sincerely returned the money. I am also grateful to my colleagues who helped me trace the money.”
Reunited with cash
Jain said, “As we narrated the incident to senior inspector Faruk Kazi at the police station, he was astonished to know
that we approached them so promptly to return money. Just then my husband received a call from the company that had lost the money and he asked them to come to the police station.”
Shweta said that Mane, accompanied by a couple of others from the telecom company office, came to the police station. The cops then verified if the money really belonged to them.
“To test if the money was really theirs, the policemen told him that the bundle had notes of Rs 500. But Mane contradicted them, saying that all the currency notes were in the denomination of Rs 1,000. That said enough,” Jain said.
Constable Rahul Ghadge, attached to the Lashkar police station, said, “After verifying the serial number on the notes, we handed over the money to Mane.”
Shweta said that till the time the money belonging to somebody else was with her, she and her husband were tense. “I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction after we were able to return the money,” she said, adding jocularly, “If I have to teach my students about the virtue of honesty, I could actually give my example.”