S'porean returns over $10k found in playground

S'porean returns over $10k found in playground
Mr Cui Hua Bi (right) was so thrilled to get his wages, he informed Chinese evening paper Lianhe Wanbao of Mr Sean Lee’s actions.

A man took his six-year-old son to a Punggol playground to teach him how to ride a bike - but ended up giving him a lesson in honesty.

Business manager Sean Lee, 42, found a wallet last Friday, containing more than $10,000 in cash in a salary packet, and immediately set about trying to trace its owner.

After recalling seeing a man lying on a nearby bench talking on his phone, he kept watch over the playground from his adjacent 12th-floor flat to see if the owner returned to look for his money.

Three hours later, he heard a commotion downstairs, and ran down to meet Chinese construction worker Cui Hua Bi, who was frantically searching for his wallet.

The 42-year-old - who has worked in Singapore for two years and was planning to remit the money home - was so thrilled to get his wages back, he informed Chinese evening paper Lianhe Wanbao of the good Samaritan's actions.

But Mr Lee told The Straits Times that his biggest reward was the response from his son.

"He really enjoys movies and after he found out about what I had done, he quoted Forrest Gump to me. He told me: 'Daddy, I am so proud of you'."

Recalling the incident, Mr Lee said he opened the wallet to find $60 in cash, a work permit, an ez-link card and a thick yellow envelope which he did not open at first. "I just wanted to return the wallet to its rightful owner," said Mr Lee, who waited more than an hour at the playground before taking his son Joleon home as it was his bedtime.

Mr Lee kept watch over the playground from his window, returning there every 15 minutes to look for the man. He eventually decided to open the envelope. It contained "nine thousand-dollar notes" and "30 sheets of $50".

For a moment, the father of one visualised all that he could buy with the money, but the joy was immediately replaced with "a lot of anxiety", which only worsened the longer he waited.

"I knew it was someone's hard-earned money," he said. "So when I heard a commotion downstairs, I didn't think twice - I just took the wallet and rushed back to the playground."

He was thanked profusely by Mr Cui, who realised his wallet was missing only when he was about to head to bed.

Mr Lee has since received e-mail from colleagues and friends, commending him on his act of kindness, but he insists that "anyone would have done the same". He said: "Singaporeans are capable of doing many kind things... I'm just lucky to have been given the opportunity to help someone in need."

ngilaine@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 15, 2015.
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