Teen discovers $135K in cash next to ATM but doesn’t hesitate to do the right thing

Here’s something to think about. Just imagine that you pull up to a bank ATM on a regular day, with a plan to grab 20 bucks. Then out of the corner of your eye, you see a huge bag of cash.

So, what would you do with it? Some people might take that bag and treat themselves to a good old-fashioned shopping spree.

But Albuquerque teen, José Nuñez Romaniz, did the right thing and turned the money in.

It all started when the 19-year-old college student headed to the ATM for some cash to purchase socks for his grandpa. But while there, he saw a clear bag of money sitting near the machine.

He quickly took action.

According to KRQE, Romaniz called the number on the ATM, followed by the cops. It turns out that the subcontractor that was supposed to fill the ATM accidentally forgot the bag of money and left it behind in the open.

The bag contained over a hundred grand, around $135,000 in total.

That’s an amount that could make a serious difference in someone’s life. For many, it would mean paying off student loans, a mortgage, buying a new car, or simply being able to put food on the table.

A lot of people would have been tempted to run off with the money (and prayed they didn’t get into trouble), but that’s not what Romaniz did.

In an interview after turning in the money, Romaniz explained his train of thought:

“In the back of my head, I was just thinking about my parents, especially my mom. What she would do if I came home with the money and… what she would do with her chancla [a flip-flop] to hit me.”

Don’t worry, he added that last part in with a good laugh! He went on to say:

“I did the right thing and I know my parents are proud and my family is proud as well.”

Romaniz was even honored by Mayor Tim Keller and Police Chief Mike Geier.
During the interview, Mayor Keller joked:

“Man, we all know that temptation… Even just to take a little, just one of those bundles off the top! I mean that had to be really hard.”

Geier praised the teen for his good deed, saying:

“What a great opportunity for us to see some good in the community with all the tragedies we see with young people, this really restores our faith in the community as well.”

An even better sentiment from the police chief. It was no doubt so great to see some good in the world and see a young citizen with such a strong moral compass in your own city!

Romaniz (who was studying criminal justice in school), was also rewarded for his selfless actions.
PNM gave him $500 for tuition, and El Patron gave an additional $500 in cash, plus a gift card. Then, ESPN Radio gifted the family season tickets for the University of New Mexico’s football team.

Many people would have been too tempted by the cash to do the “right thing.” But in this case – one teen left his community very proud.