By Tony Aiello

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — To most taxi riders, $100,000 left in the back of a cab is as good as gone, but John James is a lucky man.

After returning to his apartment at the National Arts Club Sunday afternoon, James realized he forgot a bag with $100,000 worth of jewelry and cash in the back seat of a taxi cab.

“I thought that it was the end of the world, James said.

With the help of a friend in city government and a receipt he thankfully kept, James was able to track down cabbie Zubiru Jalloh.

John James (L), Zubiru Jalloh (R) (Photos/CBS 2)

“The man had my possessions because he took it from the backseat when new passengers got on and were, I guess, messing with my tote bag,” James told 1010 WINS. “He asked to have it lifted up to the front seat where he protected it and then took it home.”

TLC chairman David Yassky said it was important for people to keep their taxi receipts.

“We’ve got our GPS locators in every taxi, so if you give us the receipt, we can identify the taxi cab and find if your property is still there,” he said.

James got his bag back Monday and offered Jalloh a $1,000 reward, which the cabbie reluctantly accepted. Jalloh was also asked to attend the club’s Valentine’s Day party but declined the invitation.

When presented with the fact that he could have easily lied and said there was no bag in the cab, Jalloh, who is Muslim, said “of course.”

“But that’s not me. My religion does not accept that,” he told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“People in New York, you know, try to give back because the city has been so good to us and you hear such horrible stories it’s nice to hear positive ones,” James said. “People that go about their business, everyday, doing and living are the real heroes.”

This is my job — to be honest and truthful to people. That’s exactly what my religion told me. He said ‘please, have this money’ so he gave me one thousand dollars cash,”  Jalloh said.

What do you make of Jalloh’s honesty? Sound off in our comments section.

Tony Aiello

Comments (127)
  1. Andrew says:

    Did the cab driver actually know the contents of the suitcase or, to him, was it like any other ordinary, lost, and rather ugly looking piece of luggage?

  2. Scott C says:

    Nice work and congratulations to a fine and decent man, as are the vast majority of NYC medallion taxicab and livery drivers who work their hearts and minds out daily with soul and spirit for little and sometimes no compensation when the upfront taxicab lease and fuel costs cannot be made on a shift.
    And thanks to first class NYC ridership patronage and reliable vehicles made by Ford, GM, and other auto companies for enabling a driver’s living
    These days the integrity, intelligence, and production is out in the field and in the street, NOT “up” in the hou$e or On The Street.
    You’re a fine man, Mr. Jollah.
    Thanks for making this world a better place.
    God Bless You and all the integral and workers, earners, and producers on this Earth out in the field and in the street

  3. Tax Man says:

    It appears as if Mr. James has some other issues that he should tend to. Jewelry and cash ? Tsk tsk.

    And he lives at the National Arts Club ?

  4. boo who says:

    There’s always Karma ,next time something really bad falls upon you or your family you’ll think of the day you kept what wasn;t yours

  5. BS Meter says:

    Why was there $100,000 in cash in it?

    Doesn’t the reporter know that cab rides are filmed? was this one cabbie aware of that?

    Who is the “friend” that helped this person back-track?

    “With the help of a friend in city government and a receipt he thankfully kept, James was able to track down cabbie Zubiru Jalloh.”

    1. rob says:

      are you incapable of reading? it says $100,000 worth of jewelry and cash.

      also, his brother is the president of the National Arts Club.

      learn how to read.

  6. joe s. says:

    honesty is a fundamental tenant of all judeo-chirstian/muslim religions. unfortunately, not all of us practice this principal. good for this cabbie, however, whatever his motivation was.

  7. Naivity says:

    Do not be naive – the key word here is “receipt” He didn’t have much choice, so please, there is no hero…

    1. joe s. says:

      he could’ve easily denied seeing it and there would be no way for anyone to prove that the next passenger didn’t take it. don’t be so naive yourself

  8. crab diver says:

    As I cab driver you always have an alibi for not being able to find someones lost property, you just blame it on another fare. Also, I personally, may have turned the bag into the police but there’s NO WAY IN HELL I’d turn it over to my cab company. Are you mental?

  9. Mohammed Abbasi says:

    Well done to the cabbie and those who are making fun of Muslims and Islam – I think you guys seriously lack knowledge and certainly have no manners – please try to reach out to Muslims rather than making fun of them, you would be suprisied how normal we are and no we will not try to convert you!

    Alternatively I do hope your Tea Party learns to make nice cups of Tea rather than try to lynch Muslims everywhere in the United States

  10. Атеист says:

    As an atheist who has no religion to guide me through difficult times I would have chosen to keep the loot and enjoy it.

    1. LKJ says:

      I’m a Muslim, but I have a friend who’s an atheist and she’s still a moral person. Don’t make excuses.

    2. Dave says:

      As an atheist, I would return the money. I would choose to do the right thing without needing mythology to frighten me into good behavior.

      1. matt556m4 says:

        Well said Dave–my sentiments exactly

      2. Атеист says:

        Аs long as I get to make money or profit I don’t care. If one schleps 100K around one should pay more attention and not be aloof about Valentine’s party.

      3. one of the muslims says:

        We don’t do good out of fear, we do good out of love.
        Of course we are aware of the punishment of dishonestly, but that’s not necessarily the reason why he did it.
        Moreover, the awesome thing is that (God willing) this cabbie will also be rewarded in the next life (not just with that $1,000) and that reward is greater than any reward in this life and the sad thing is that an athiest wouldn’t.

      4. young muslim says:

        why does he have to be frightened.. know one said he was scared.. maybe the fact that he is muslim made himreact on values….

  11. robin says:

    Doing the right thing, is it’s own reward.

  12. lapop says:

    “Jalloh says he was motivated to return the valuable jewels by his Muslim faith.”
    For anyone wondering why he did it because of his religion and not just for the sake of morals, well, Islam teaches and upholds those exact morals. It teaches everyone to be humanistic. And this is a fine example of just that…

  13. Thomas Preston says:

    The standard operrating proceedure of the nypd is the take lost items into custody and issue a recieipt if withing 30 dfays the property is unclaimed the finder keeps it. The police would not keep the money, stop attacking our fine men and women in law enforcment while there are some dishonest peoplein all professions the vast majority of cops are well meaning and fine people doing a job that benifits all of us.

  14. mohammad says:

    Islam does not allow to enjoy with other property money or anything. A muslim must return the owner even a single penny.

  15. growlyman says:

    If that cab was in Japan, the driver would have noticed it right away and left his cab to run down the street in the rain to catch the guy and return it immediately! He would then consider it an insult if he was offered a tip!!!!

    1. andtheloseris.... says:

      wow! From now on I’m only going to call Japanese taxi companies!!

    2. Jamila says:

      Maybe the bag was dark and left on the floor of the cab where it wasn’t immediately noticeable to the driver. Then the next passengers got in, discovered it and said something like, “Hey, what’s this here?” started opening it and then the driver realized that another passenger must have left if behind.

  16. jmad says:

    Yes they do, how did you know? All that reading in the bathroom is paying off finally. Keep up the good work, looking forward to hear more of your educated comments to keep us informed.

  17. An athiests view says:

    It really should have nothing to do with religion. As human beings we should have a moral compass and if that morality comes from religion, then thank you Mohammad/Jesus/Moses/Budda etc. etc. etc. Oh, by the way, as an athiest, I would have returned the belongings simply because they were not mine and it is the right thing to do.

    1. Daniel A Freeman says:

      I agree– as for the moron who could only talk about 10,000 Muslim terrorists (where, when, are these people tried and convicted??–your ability to reason is non-existent. Unfortunately, peope who think that way may get involved with vigilante groups). I drove a cab in NYC for more than 11 yrs, alternating full and part time and sometimes went out of my way to return irreplaceable property such as a pssport and address book in one instance. I had a responsiibility to do so, Has nothing to do with religion, I am a secular American Jes and an atheist,

      In the report given here, itI looks like the ethically quesfionable pssengers who got in next however were about to mess with the bag when Mr Jollah noticed and asked them to turn it over.

  18. carmen says:

    We need more people like the cabbie and this world would be a better place to live. Good job cabbie

  19. SG says:

    I am proud of you for what you had done. My father was a taxi driver for over thirty(30) years and he had always returned what he found. I would not give it to the police becuase they would not return it.. This I know from experience.

  20. no need says:

    to JMG: no one needs your recognition..

  21. jason says:

    I think its funny how so many people leave a comment….yet cant even spell correctly! haha!

    1. Rob says:

      cant is spelled can’t. Ironic isn’t it?

      1. Malfax says:

        jason – The Joke is on you! Now, go eat crow! HA-HA!

  22. no need says:

    I was gonna say “get a life” but remember that creature like you will never ever become human beings therefore keep barking..

  23. Dose of Reality says:

    Right, because keeping the Palestinians in a perpetual state of poverty via military air strikes, checkpoints which could double as the 37th parallel and an ever increasing rate of settlements are lawful. The hippocracy is unbelievable.

    1. Schmoy Medlin says:

      It is the Palestinian’s who strap explosive backpacks to themselves and blow themselves up in order to kill innocent Jewish children. Don’t defend these criminal cowards

      1. Dose of Reality says:

        And it is the Israelis who use tanks and fighter planes to kill innocent Palestinian children. Proportionate force is something the Israelis seem to ignore. The interesting thing about this whole issue, is that the Jewish-American people have no idea what it means to live your daily life in Israel. They read articles from the Debka file or other extremist news sources, visit the country a few times and believe that their point of view is reflective of the common Israeli opinion. Israelis care more about their economic and social survival than what Jewish-Americans think are more critical to the country. The military spending in Israel takes up a large portion of the country’s GDP, but the extremist views of outside influences prohibit peace from being achieved.

  24. Lawrence DapperthanDan Barcus says:

    some ppl are JUST too honest…..i’d be the richest cabbie in newyourk if someone left 100K in my cab…imjustsaying#

  25. sam says:

    good man nyc should proud on this cabbie.
    dosen’t matter what ever religion we belong to it’s who you are and what you e learn form your mother/father. all religion teach same.

  26. Yeye Vargas says:

    In the Bible there is a place that says that if I find anything and I cannot find the owner, I must keep it for 30 days until I either find the owner or the owner find is lookinf for it and enquires or makes an inquiry. Other than that after 30 days I will keep the lost item.
    However if I find $100,000 with no name on it I will keep it. It would be very stupid to handed it over to police officers or anyone for that matter

    1. ZAC says:


      1. sophie says:

        “What good is it for a man to gain the world and lose his soul?”

        “You cannot serve both God and money”

        “The rich man can pay a ransom but the poor man is never threatened”

        “Better a diner of herbs in a house where there is love than meat where there is anger”

        Go read your Bible if you love God so much! He’d never bless you for stealing.

  27. omo-ekun says:

    It takes more than 20 years workimg on minium wage to save $10,000. This guy must be anangel, because cabdrivers incomeis slightly over a minum wage worker. Iwill keep the money, because send it to me

  28. sawney bean says:

    The man does the right thing and all you can do is denigrate him and his religion? You should be ashamed of yourselves. You control how you act and you should try to act with a little class.

  29. MohammadIslam says:

    I think is more about ethics than being associated with any religion. All religions provide good guidance, the grooming process plays a major role. The moto should be, “I should not use the money that is not earned by me”. This goes a long way: from sincerely working at your job and not count on lottos.

  30. Lisa says:

    Good Job Cabbie, I would expact that of any human of any faith. Don’t be so closed minded people. Seems we get less intelligent when we only see things one way.

  31. Moy Tarkington says:

    My momma always told me that Jewish is as Jewish does

  32. jeff says:

    The people who say the drivers intentions are suspect because he took the bag home doesn’t hold much water. All he had to say was another customer must have taken it and he never saw a bag!

  33. eddy says:

    isreal ….?? you mean palestine cousin ??

  34. guy says:

    “i gave it back because i’m muslim”…y cant people do things like this because its the right thing to do?

    1. Kathy says:

      good job, GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!!!!!
      People need to stop all the HATE, we are all God people. Not all Muslims are bad.

      1. imadam says:

        and not all xtians and jews are good either

  35. rocco pslmisano says:

    he had no intention of giving the money back or he would have turned it over to police.

    1. Brian says:

      yeah so that they could consider TAKING it!

    2. Im Adam says:

      You can always tell a Muslim hater by the fact that they can’t give a Muslim credit for doing a good deed. The police and civil servants like ambulance drivers are the biggest thieves in the world. I know from experience when I had to go to the ER once and the EMS driver stole $140 that was placed on my kitchen counter earlier by my son without me knowing. After investigating, we found out that it wasn’t this guys first time pilfering on the job.

  36. Jack Gordon says:

    Good job cabbie
    Hopefully you get your green card

  37. Ivan says:

    if only everyone would practice rigorous honest….

  38. phatspeed says:


  39. mary says:

    You are VERY misinformed JMG. Unfortunately it is Israel who is the aggressor.

  40. sojourner says:

    Was $1,000 the tip or the reward? “Oh, taxi….”

  41. tony says:

    ‘He asked to have it lifted up to the front seat where he protected it and then took it home.”

    says it all right there, if james did not track him down, he would have kept it. and that, my friends, is the absolute truth!!

    1. Cash A Reality Check says:

      BS. If the guy left no ID in the bag, he couldn’t track him down and he could have kept it by saying another passenger had taken it, Sherlock. Give up on detective work, it ain’t your forte.

  42. Kareem says:

    You are an idiot sir dont believe everything you hear becuase it makes you look ignorant and dumb

  43. penny says:

    There are good and bad people of every faith. When the human race grows up and decides to love thy neighbor as thyself, and stop judging others based on stereotypes perhaps there will be peace on earth.

    1. Kathy says:

      You are a good person Penny, God Bless you

  44. NY'er says:

    Hmm, took the bag home for safekeeping. Personally the guy who left it is a cheap prick, he should have givin the guy 10% of the value. Me, sorry guy, there was no bag left in the car.

    1. John says:

      Yeah, 10 grand should cover it. If I found someone else’s stuff I would expect nothing less than $10,000. Everybody’s rich but me, and can afford that. You’re a moron.

      1. Thomas Preston says:

        If you get up one more time than you fall you will make it through.”

    2. sophie says:

      How can you call the guy a cheap prick when you would have stolen the money? Better a cheap prick than a thief!

  45. jason smith says:

    come on stop making israel seem innocent…they are one of the richest countries with one of the biggest military and they also have nuclear weapons…what does palestine have? rocks?
    and the palestenians were always there, they never bothered anyone until the zionists came….
    i want peace too, but don’t blame ISLAM or Muslims …..

    1. LKJ says:

      When Israel treats Palestinians like human beings and grants them equal rights, then maybe we can talk.

    2. Chris Soderstrom says:

      The United Nations created the country of Israel out of a non-Arab British Protectorate. The Country Palestine was taken from the Ottoman Empire by Great Britain during the War. It was under British rule, not Arab rule. Jews have been in Palestine since the days of Christ and before. why can’t the Arabs just accept the partition of Palestine into two countries the way the United Nations decided was fair? The Israelis have fought 4 or more wars just to protect the land given them by the United Nations.

  46. Homie says:

    Bet that bag smelled!

    1. Orson says:

      Perhaps some of the reward could go toward purchasing an air freshener.

  47. A real muslim says:

    you dont know anything about sharia law or Islam if you think every muslim is ”conditioned” to lie to every non-muslim. the biggest problem in Islam is misinterpetation and people take advantage of that and spread a wrong message. regarding this case let me assure you every muslim living and earning in a foriegn country is bound by islam to protect that country with his blood and sweat fighting for it as he has lived there and earned a living there. so NO it does not conflict with muslim teachings. The man is an honest one..there are good muslims in this world, the others who spread oppression and terror are Not muslims.

  48. DanTe says:

    Yeah, so honest, he didn’t turn it into the police. But kept it in his home … for “safe” keeping … until he was tracked down.

    But, that dope deserves to lose his jewels.

    1. Terrified says:

      Finally, a slight ray of logic… Thank you DanTe, for pointing out the obvious; apparently a little too obvious for most commenters.

  49. David Flores says:

    good job cabbie, now hurry up i am late for work

  50. Todd Evora says:

    my neighbors are muslim and they are the most honest people i know,the rest of new york could learn something from ths experience.

    1. jane says:


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