Teen Hailed as a National Hero After Returning $50K He Found on Roadside

A teenager in Liberia is being hailed as a national hero after returning $50,000 he found on the side of the road to its rightful owner in the northeastern Nimba County.

Emmanuel Tuloe, an 18-year-old motorcycle taxi driver, told the Associated Press on Thursday that he noticed the money on Tuesday while driving his motorcycle on a highway. The money was wrapped in a plastic bag and had been accidentally dropped by its owner.

"I was afraid because it was plenty, and so I brought it home and gave it to my aunty to keep until the owner could ask for it," Tuloe said.

Tuloe said he managed to return the money the same day to its owner, and has been praised by many as a hero for his actions.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Teen Returns Money
Emmanuel Tuloe, an 18-year-old motorcycle taxi driver in Liberia, is being hailed as a national hero after returning $50,000 he found on the side of the road to its rightful owner. Getty Images

On Tuesday, Musu Yancy, the businesswoman who had lost the money, went on the radio "crying for her money and appealing to anyone finding it," he said.

So he took it to her.

Tuloe said that while many Liberians are praising his actions, others, including some friends, are mocking him for doing what is unusual in the post-war country.

He dropped out of school in seventh grade to begin a taxi service with his motorcycle to make money, he said.

"Since my decision, when I have a breakdown on the highway and some of my rider friends see me, they don't help, they say I acted stupid to find and return money. I should let the money help me," he told AP from his hometown of Gbolor Dialla on the border with Ivory Coast.

"They tell me I will never get rich in my lifetime, they say because I returned such an amount of money, I will live and die poor."

He said he has also received threats for his actions.

"I need to protect myself," he said.

But he stands firm in his honest actions, advising others to return money, cellphones or other items they may find.

"If the owner asks, they should return it because we don't know the future," he said.

Yancy rewarded the boy with cash and materials valued at about $1,500, he said.

We had a big celebration together, he added.

When the euphoria has gone away, he will share the reward with some of those who were traveling with him.

"But the mattress I got will be given to my grandma," he said firmly.

The Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission said it is "deeply touched by the sincerity of the teenager."

Liberia's 14-year back-to-back civil wars started in this region in 1989.

Nimba County is the largest of Liberia's 15 counties in terms of land area and the second-most populated after the Monrovia area.