Honest teen returns 12Gs in lost cash

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Had someone else stumbled upon
an envelope stuffed with almost $12,000 cash in a New
Jersey restaurant, this story might have turned out

Luckily, it was Yousry Desooky who found the missing
wad, which he gave back to its rightful owner
yesterday at the Advance offices in Grasmere. 

The 16-year-old Susan Wagner High School junior was
dining at La Fiesta Buffet in West New York, N.J.,
Saturday afternoon when he found a beat-up envelope on
the floor of a bathroom stall. 

"I kicked it to move it. It was heavy, so I picked it
up," the teen said. 

The words "For Tahir. 11,875" were written on one
side, and when the teen looked inside, he found a
thick stack of hundreds and twenties. 

But keeping the cash was never an option. 

"I took it, I called my dad," Yousry said. 

The teen's father, Abdelaziz Desooky, said they were
never tempted to keep the cash, since doing so would
have gone against their Muslim precepts. First they
asked around to find out if anyone had dropped the
envelope, then they left a note with the restaurant in
case the rightful owner returned. 

Sure enough, Guessoum Tahir of Brooklyn came back,
looking for his lost money. 

Tahir said he had gotten the money from a friend,
Mount Vernon resident Ibraihim Taibi, who had given it
to Tahir to pay him back for a 2003 Honda CRV he
bought at a Pennsylvania dealer's auction on Friday. 

"I'm the careless guy," Tahir joked yesterday. 

Yousry and his dad, who live in Westerleigh, met with
Tahir and Taibi at the Advance -- Abdelaziz Desooky
had called the paper to arrange the transfer. 

"I'm thinking, 90 percent, I'm not gonna find the
money. I just accept the loss and that's it," said
Tahir, who owns an auto repair shop in Manhattan.
"Thank God it was honest people." 

And Yousry learned firsthand that honesty does, in
fact, pay. 

Tahir took $1,200 from the stack of cash and handed it
right back to the teen. 

"I'll save it for college," said Yousry, who aspires
to be a civil engineer. 

Raed Nouawadeh, the restaurant's manager, marveled
yesterday at Yousry's integrity. 

"He found it in a place where nobody could see it
except God," Nouawadeh said. "It takes a lot of
strength and a lot of power and conscience to say,
'It's not mine.'" 

John Annese is a news reporter for the Advance. He may
be reached at annese@siadvance.com. 


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