Many of us dream of what it would be like to simply happen upon a huge amount of money. Think of the things we could buy! However, one teenager actually experienced this, but instead of going on a spending spree, he did the exact opposite. Here’s what happened when Jose Nunez Romaniz found $135,000 in cash in a clear bag next to an ATM machine in New Mexico.
- Romaniz was getting some cash out so he could buy some socks for his grandpa. The 19-year-old headed to the machine, located at a Wells Fargo bank, and looked down to find the clear bag full of more than a dozen wads of cash.
- He thought about what he would do next. While many teenagers would take the money and run, Romaniz thought better of it. Instead of assuming it was a case of finders keepers, he called the number on the ATM machine and then called police.
- The money had been left there by mistake. As you can probably imagine, that $135,000 worth of cash wasn’t meant to be simply sitting in front of the ATM machine. Instead, the subcontractor hired to refill the machine with cash had forgotten that bag and simply left it there. Talk about a major mistake!
- Jose Nunez Romaniz had a humorous explanation for why he decided to turn in the money. In an interview following the incident, the college student admitted he would have gotten in serious trouble with his mom if he tried to pocket the cash. “In the back of my head, I was just thinking about my parents, especially my mom. What she would do if I came home with the money and… what she would do with her chancla [a flip-flop] to hit me,” he joked.
- He stands behind the decision he made. While many people might think he made a silly decision and should have kept the money, Romaniz doesn’t think so. “I did the right thing and I know my parents are proud and my family is proud as well,” he said. Too right!
- Romaniz was honored by Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Mike Geier. They applauded the teen for being so honest when many wouldn’t have done the same. “Man, we all know that temptation… Even just to take a little, just one of those bundles off the top! I mean, that had to be really hard!” Mayor Keller said.
- He truly inspired the community. Chief Geier hoped that Romaniz’s honesty would inspire others in the community. “What a great opportunity for us to see some good in the community with all the tragedies we see with young people, this really restores our faith in the community as well,” he said.
- He did get rewarded for his good deed. Romaniz was given $500 for college tuition by PNM, and El Patron also gave him $500 and a gift card. ESPN Radio even gave his family season tickets for the University of New Mexico’s football team. Good for him!