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. Clarke Hodge says:

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  2. Me says:

    It doesn’t matter what your religion is, as long as you do your best to stay honest like that, that’s best. Just because a few zealots decided to blow themselves up doesn’t mean it has to apply to EVERYONE of that religion. And is it really because of a religion that made some people decide to strap bombs to themselves? In the majority case, no, I don’t think so.

    It’s up to honest people like him to let everyone know that not all Muslims are bad. It’s just the really stupid ones who don’t get out enough that are bad.

    Hm. If a kindergardener blew himself up, people would say it was a suicide, or some criminal forced the, to. But if it were a muslim, it would automatically be “terrorist.” How do we know someone idiot didn’t make them, that they wanted to just live?

    I also hate that if there’s a Muslim story that involves a good deed, it’s automatically BS. But if it were a random person of any other religion and whatnot, everyone would believe it. Why the heck is that? So a group of high schoolers vandalize a store. Does that make all high schoolers bad? If one disease-infested fish got eaten, would the entire stock of fish automatically be bad? Really. Common courtesy, common sense, whichever you prefer.

  3. BThomp says:

    AWESOME!!! It doesn’t matter WHICH religion he chose to practice as almost ALL religions share the values of honesty integrity and TRUTH.

    We need more Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindis etc in this world to offfset the shift to agnostic selfishness.

    Thanks Jalloh – You’ve proved the higher power yet again. Hats off to you!

    1. Lloyd Christmas says:

      “agnostic selfishness.”

      You use a man’s story of honesty to make a hateful remark. Hypocrite.

  4. DanTe says:

    The muslime lovers here at CBS keeps censoring truths. CBS apparently likes it when people burn alive in tall buildings or get decapitated because it gives them some news to report on.

    1. Lloyd Christmas says:

      How about invading another country on the backs of American tax dollars, killing thousands with the best military technology? You have an issue with that or just one particular ethnic group?

  5. Albert Lombardo says:

    Honesty? Who did the searching the owner or the cabby

    1. Im Adam says:

      Honestly, I hope that this happens to you in the near future and then we will see who will do the searching and who is the ONE who’s burden it is to do the searching. This Muslim could have lied and said the next passengers took it, but HE DIDN’T LIE.
      he SEARCHED HIS HEART. And that’s what matters here.

      Jalloh, may Allah increase for you wealth and good health here in this world, and may you be one of the inhabitants of the highest level of Jannah (Paradise). Jazaak Allah khair (MAY ALLAH REWARD YOU WITH GOODNESS)

    2. Lloyd Christmas says:

      Albert Lombardo, someone does something really nice and that’s how you twist it? Honestly, you’re a miserable prick.

  6. JH says:

    In this case the cabbie was left holding the bag…

  7. hanny says:

    If he gave it to the police it would be dum, he could of said i didnt find anything and would get punished but returned it instead

  8. Dee says:

    Freaking cheapskate 1000 reward. Not cool at all

  9. KayP says:

    He obviously didnt steal in fear of getting caught and get in legal trouble knowing the customer will report with the recipt.. The rest is an excuse.

    1. Asha says:

      why would he fear of getting caught if he just wanted to do the right thing? people nowadays don’t believe in the good side of others..because they themselves know that they can’t be honest.just like you

      1. Lloyd Christmas says:

        Asha, true that.

    2. Imadam says:

      why in the hell couldn’t you just accept the fact that as a MUSLIM, HE DID THE RIGHT THING!!!!!!!!!! You are a Muslim-hater.

      1. Barbara Lee says:

        No one mentions that, according to the Talmud, anything a goyim loses that is found by a Jew, there is no obligation to return it.

        According to Islam, you return it. And in the case of banks, it is forbidden to practice usury.

        He was doing what was right simply as a human being, let alone Koranicstandards.

  10. Hasan007 says:

    In the report headline JEWELRY spelled wrong!!!!!!!!

    1. Scyla says:

      Americans use their own form of English spelling. The proper English way is JEWELLERY.

  11. BS says:

    official BS story. searched other major news sites and you tube cabbie name returns nothing. i rest my case and to all a good night!

    1. Riz says:

      Haha… As if every news agency ran to cover this breaking news… Good news doesn’t get attention, bad news does

  12. Rakela says:

    here”s a hero cabbie to to me! admitting both your rights and wrongs.

  13. rakela says:

    yes i have indeed leftt something in a cab: my cell phone. I soon as i exited the cab after gtipping the driver generously, i realized i had put down my phone on the seat when i looked for my $. Right away i used my friends phone (whom was meeting with) to call the phone. My ringer was on HIGH but driver NEVER answered phone. We were running on the side walk with the cab in plain view, trying to catch up with it until the light turned green … and no other passenger got into the cab until we lost track of it. Though the man physically appeared to be from the middle east with an accent to match, i will not assume he was muslim since im not questioning his religion but rather his MORALS, like our “hero cabbie” in question.

    1. Barbara Lee says:

      I worked for a large cab company at one time and the usual procedure is that the cabbie returns the phone at the end of the shift. It is written up in a control book and as soon as the person rings the office, they are told to come on down and pick up their phone. We had at least a few hundred phones in a box that no one claimed. Our drivers were pretty well all Hindu or Muslim and we never had a problem with their honesty, just at time their accents when they were spatting and we had to cool things down.

  14. jerseyjoey says:

    DUH, in New Jersey anyone with that kind of money on them in a cab or anywhere outside a residence or bank would have lost it to the police as drug money and would be doing a whole lot of explaining unless your a jew in lakewood of course.

    1. Larry says:

      Hey Joey! This Jew wants to punch you right in the mouth. How about it?

      1. Im Adam says:

        Hey Joey,

        I’m a woman but I’ll stick up for you. I’ll scratch Larry’s eyes out with my fingernails.

  15. Mohammad says:

    I always returned things back to my pessengers if they forgot it in my cab, only once i kept an iphone to myself and the next day it fell and broke, so i guess it better always to be honest and return the things back to those they belong to

  16. Willy The Wino says:

    This is a BS story. I’m a cab driver and if I found that kind of cash and jools in my cab I’d be hard pressed to give it back. I like to think I’m an honest man, but that kind of scratch would cure all my financial problems and then some. So I don’t care what Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, Budda or Bupkiss has to say about it! You drop a hundred LARGE in my cab, kiss it goodbye, and I’ll be in Bermuda. Here’s the real deal, this story never happened and it’s politically motivated because it’s not healthy to openly practice the Islamic Religion in America these days. No, I’m not prejudiced, I don’t care one way or the other whom you place your faith in or what political philosophies you follow. The powers that be are blowin’ smoke up our tuckus. If I’m holding THAT kind of loot: A) I know EXACTLY where it is at ALL times; B) I’m ARMED and DANGEROUS and will not hesitate to permanently part your hair if you look cross-eyed at me and C) I would NOT be taking a cab anywhere, period. So I’m not buying it. Have a great day.

    1. Young muslim says:

      ignorance at it best . this is what America has breed.. no empathy or sympathy for anyone but yourself.. such a miserable person.. i been openly practicing islaam all my life.. and i live in Newark nj…your a scab

    2. sanjosemike says:

      100,000 cash may seem like a lot. The problem with the jewels is being able to “fence” them. You would be letting yourself in for a lot of complications for an amount that would not really help that much. Chances are you’d spend most of it quickly and be where you are right now. No better off, still a fool.

    3. G says:

      Well said! I especially like your point “A”. You would likely be carrying it on your person and not in a bag that you could FORGET?!

  17. x says:

    It seems…your damned if you do and damned if you don’t

  18. Medinah says:

    No matter what religion….honesty is always the best! The good will always come back to you!

  19. Iman says:

    As the NYT reports the cab driver alerted authorities, as did the rider. Do better reporting CBS.

  20. Iman says:

    You would never see a headline Christian cabbie returns or Jewish cabbie returns, it would just be cabbie. Why good or bad do we need to be referred to by our faith?

    1. Jamila says:

      It is mentioned because the cabbie says he did the right thing BECAUSE he is Muslims. It seems Islam only gets ‘credited’ when people to bad things (erroneously) in its name.

    2. Sophie says:

      That’s true. Seems to me that if a radical Islamist does something terrible in the name of their faith, the media goes to all kinds of lengths to explain it away and say ‘this has nothing to do with religion, he did it because of the economy, because he had family problems’ etc etc.

      Then a good story comes along and they say ‘MUSLIM did something good! Isn’t that nice? See, they’re not all bad!’. I think it’s extremely patronising to Muslims and they should be given the same treatment as everyone else. There are good and bad people in all faiths.

  21. Faizan says:

    Jalloh is a true hero and by his act of honesty he has shown that no matter what the world says about Muslims but they are still the most honest and peace loving people..

    1. Sophie says:

      That’s so silly, Faizan. It’s one story about one good thing a Muslim has done. people of all faiths and none do good and bad things every day. Plenty of religions command its followers not to lie or steal.

  22. rakela zoazo says:

    This story does not hold water. First of all, why would anyone hand over to a total stranger a bag containg such valuables? Why allow other passengers to “mess with” your personal, and vaaluable belongings? why not hold your bag on your lap? Women travel with bags daily, yet i never hear offellow passengers “messing” with their bags…. Also i find it peculiar the the “honest” driver “OFFERED to place the bag next to him on the front seat but conveniently FORGETS to return it when the passenfer exits his cab. Even more peculiar is the fact that said passenger himself NEGLECTS to fetch his valuables before getting off the cab. A simple phone call should have sufficed to trace the cab and the goodie, why did the passenger have to reort to the help of friend in city government; does not seem to me that our HONEST driver was too eager to return his finds. He TOOK IT HOME with him you said? did he report it as lost and found? Did he bring it to the nearest preccinct? If the passenger paid with a credit card did he attempt to contact the CC company to report it?…. Oh, and he RELUNCTANTLY accepted a gernerous cash reward because his Muslim religion teaches him to be generous?… Im not personally aware of any religion that preaches dishonesty, does anyone?….Im not prejudiced toward the Muslim religon but i do believe this story is fabricated to promote muslim in a favorable light! A truly honest man would NOT have taken the bag home with him, period and would have attempted right away to find its owner and bring it to the preccint. PERIOD.

    1. rob says:

      re-read the story..
      james stepped out of the cab and FORGOT his belongings; he didn’t allow other passengers to “mess with” his personal belongings. he didn’t hand his bag over to a total stranger.
      and clearly you know nothing about Islam, you ignorant bigot. culturally speaking, followers of Islam rarely accept monetary incentives for such acts. he wasn’t being dishonest, he just figured that he’d be contacted, hence why he held onto it. have you ever lost anything in a cab? it’s usually easier when the cabbie keeps the item until the owner of the item contacts him because otherwise, it’s a tedious process.
      relax and read the article.. stop and think before you go off and rant.

    2. AmericanCabbie says:

      I always take lost items home with me and I almost always track down the owner via the bags contents. Some items, like a pair of 5 1/2 Doc Martens boots still sit in my closet, but nothing of real value. Cell phones are the easiest to return as the owner always calls the phone.

      Later tonight, I’ll be returning a Coach leather business card holder to a psychologist on Central Park West. That was an easy one as the owner’s address was on the cards.

      Finally, I’ve never accepted a reward – I always tell the person to do something nice for a stranger the next time the opportunity presents itself.

    3. hanny says:

      Hey this not a csi case, he returned it and thats it why will u question it, i doubt ur that knowledgeable, how many times have u heard of people who return $100,000 left in a cab

  23. Michael Principato says:

    Good deads get rewarded. He got a $1,000 tip. Honesty is still the best policy in my books.

  24. LKJ says:

    No, Shari’ah does not promote or approve of lying. Someone asked me about ‘taqqiyah’ a few months ago and I had to look it up–and I’ve been a Muslim for 30 years. My husband, who was born into a Muslim family, had never heard of it either. It’s amazing that some non-Muslim Americans seem to know more about Islam than those of us who follow it. People go to school for years to learn the Shari’ah. You can’t pick it up after 10 minutes of watching TV.

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