Good News Tuesday: 3rd Grader Returns Lost Money, Gains Awesome Reward

There’s so much negative news in the world, some of us have chosen to stop reading and/or watching entirely.

I’d like to help change that.

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight an article I find that focuses on GOOD NEWS. This column is called Good News Tuesday.

Spread the word.

This week’s entry comes to us from Sarah B. Weir from Yahoo Blogger Parenting.

Maine Girl Returns Lost Money, Gains Awesome Reward

Ask yourself honestly: You find a big wad of cash on the ground, there are no surveillance cameras in sight, and nobody is watching you, what do you do? Jennifer Jacobson, a stay-at-home mom in Maine, admits that she had to think about it for a minute when her eight-year-old discovered $4,000 on the sidewalk by a Sam’s Club. As for her daughter Abbie? “It never crossed her mind to keep it,” mom tells Shine.

 Abbie Jacobson saw the money spilling out of a small green cloth purse back in April. “She was so sad and sick to her stomach” thinking about the people who had lost it, says Jennifer. Dad John looked inside and, in addition to more than $4,000 cash, found some Cambodian currency, gold rings, and a debit card from the University Credit Union in Portland with the name “Ra Rim.” The family gave the money to the police and called the bank leaving their telephone number.

Jacobson says her daughter, who started third grade on Tuesday, never expected any reward for turning in the cash. “Her teacher told the class about it on the first day of school and the other students clapped,” She says. “That was very nice for her.” However, mom says that when a reporter recently pressed Abbie on what she would do with $4,000, she hesitated then gushed, “see a Justin Bieber concert.” A few days ago, the forces of karma delivered: Abbie, her parents, and her older brother and sister learned they will be attending the sold-out show in Boston on November 10.

Back to April: The day after the family first turned in the cash, Ra Rim, who had been contacted by the credit union, called and invited them to lunch. When she saw the little girl, she started crying and ran up and gave her a huge hug. Rim and her husband Sa, who are Cambodian immigrants, explained they had been saving the money for a trip back to their country and they were supposed to leave the very next day.

Jacobson tells Shine, like many families, hers has struggled during the recession. “Abbie has severe asthma and spends four or five days at time on oxygen at the hospital in the winter,” says mom. She isn’t able to run and is left out of a lot of activities at school. “She takes a lot of medication and there are a lot of medical bills.” When the family learned how the Rims survived the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and spent four years doing hard labor in a prison camp, “It changes your whole perspective,” dad John told the Portland Press Herald, “In that way, I think they have given to us.”

The Rims were able to go on their trip and the Jacobson family thought the story was over—until about a week ago when Abbie’s good deed came to the attention of the Portland Press Herald via an email from Rosemarie De Angelis, an English instructor who teaches Rim’s daughter, Chansatha, at the local community college. The front page story mentioning Abbie Jacobson’s Bieber fever caught the eye of John Everets, the Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Bank of Maine. “This is a chance to do something nice for a beautiful little girl,” he reportedly told Renee Smyth, the bank’s Senior Vice President, who managed to score the concert tickets.

“A lot of people have asked us why Abbie gave the money back,” Jacobson tells Shine. “But we always taught our kids, ‘whatever is in your heart, you do the right thing.’ And it has paid off.” Mom says Abbie wants to start a blog where kids can share stories of hope and inspiration. “She’s humble, but I know that inside she’s beaming.”

~ ~ ~

Here’s the part where you tell me: Has anyone returned something you lost? My friend lost his wallet a few years back, and not only was it returned in the mail (to the address on his driver’s license), there was no cash missing!

3 thoughts on “Good News Tuesday: 3rd Grader Returns Lost Money, Gains Awesome Reward

  1. I love that Abby’s parents teach their children to do what is in their heart… it is moments like this where Abby will reflect on what really is in her heart, and will be reminded of the good that resides inside of her.

    I do think that my character would move me in the same way… especially since being nice without sacrifice and treating someone the way that I wish to be treated is very important to my philosophy. Good on Abby and good on her parents… she was taught well and got to live an important lesson in her life..!


  2. Such a cool story! It’s good to see that our kids are being schooled in doing the right thing. My son left his wallet in a store after Christmas a couple years ago and never got it back. It had all his Christmas money in it. Tough lesson. In college, I left my coin purse, with $20 cash in it, in the bathroom, not once, but twice – both times, it was returned with the cash still in it. I was beyond shocked. I hold on to my money better now 🙂


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