6 February 2007

N.S. student finds $10,000 beside bank machine, returns cash to owners

Monday, February 5, 2007
Canadian Press: by: MELANIE PATTEN

HALIFAX (CP) - For any student who has struggled to pay for tuition while dining on macaroni and cheese, finding an abandoned wad of $10,000 in cash would be too good to be true.

But when Jaime Hawkins of Riverview, N.B., stumbled upon a "loaf-of-bread-sized" stack of $20 bills next to a bank machine at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, the finance major immediately realized he couldn't keep the loot.

"I was just so overwhelmed with the amount of money," Hawkins, 29, said Tuesday, about four weeks after the incident. "It just felt like the right thing to do to hand it over. I had this little voice inside of me that said, 'It's not yours. Hand it in.' "

The stack, wrapped in elastic bands and barely visible beneath a shelving unit, was mistakenly left behind by two security guards who were refilling the machine in the student union building.

Although it was short-lived, Hawkins said he enjoyed his newfound fortune by pumping his money-filled fist into the air and yelling, "party time" as astonished
cafeteria-goers looked on, mouths agape.

He then handed the entire stack to a worker at the student union building, who was "taken aback" when presented with the loot.

Hawkins said he "feels good" about his decision even though he is now strapped for cash. About a week after finding the money, he discovered his New Brunswick student loan had been reassess, meaning he'll receive nearly $6,000 less than he initially thought.

An extra $10,000 would have come in handy, especially for a student with a debt load of close to $50,000.

"I've had a lot of people tell me that I was an idiot for handing it in," he said, laughing. "But at the same time, they say, 'You're a good guy for doing that.' "

Toronto-based Group 4 Securicor, the firm that misplaced the money, said Hawkins and the student union building worker would each receive $500 rewards.

"It's nice to know there's honest people in the world with integrity, whose mothers raised them right," said company spokeswoman Robin Steinberg, adding she believed the money had been there for "a very short time span."

As for Hawkins, he said the story would have unfolded much the same, even if no one else been around.

"I probably would have taken it home and rolled around in it for a bit," he said
jokingly. "And then called the cops."

The Canadian Press, 2007

It's nice to know that not all debt ridden young people feel the need to steal. Good for him. Though I do feel bad, that he isn't even finished school and he has a massive $50 000.00 CAD debt. Isn't there any way for people to get an education in this world without a massive debt. Our young people are starting their lives owing money they haven't even made yet. Though, if he kept the money and the NS equivalent of OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program)found out they would have clawed back his funds-even more - so fast his spinning head would have touched off a tornado.

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