January 13, 2010 in Nation/World

NY cabbie returns $21,000 to passenger

Virginia Byrne Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Mohammad Asadujjaman is being praised for returning a purse left in his taxi.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – A New York City cabbie said he returned a lost purse containing more than $21,000 in cash and expensive jewelry because his mother always advised him to be honest.

“I’m broke, but I’m honest,” 28-year-old Mohammad “Mukal” Asadujjaman said Tuesday.

Felicia Lettieri, of Pompeii, Italy, and six relatives had taken two cabs from midtown Manhattan to Penn Station on Christmas Eve. The 72-year-old Lettieri left her purse behind, with more than $21,000 of the group’s traveling money, jewelry worth thousands more, and some of their passports.

The cabbie, a native of Bangladesh, saw the rolls of euros when he opened the bag to look for an address, but didn’t even count the money. “My mother is my inspiration,” the soft-spoken cabbie said. “She always said to be honest and work hard.”

The cabbie called a friend with a car and drove some 50 miles to a Patchogue address in the purse. No one was home, so Asadujjaman left his cell phone number and a note. His phone rang a short time later and he drove back to return the bag.

“They were so, so, so happy,” Asadujjaman beamed.

The immigrant is a full-time student at a city college near his apartment in Jamaica, Queens.

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