Liberia: a young driver who had collected and returned 50,000 dollars named “ambassador of integrity”

He was the laughing stock of his neighborhood. But the unfailing honesty of Emmanuel Tuloe, a 19-year-old Liberian teenager, elevated him to the rank of national hero: the young man, who had collected 50,000 US dollars (43,000 euros) before returning the money to its owner, has been named Liberia’s “Ambassador of Integrity”.

Above all, he received an award of 10,000 dollars (approximately 8,600 euros) and a scholarship up to master’s level. The president of the country, George Weah, also granted him a monthly salary of 500 dollars (430 euros).

The story of Emmanuel Tuloe, who drives a motorcycle taxi for a living, received wide media coverage for his civic act in Liberia, where nearly half the population lives in the extreme poverty.

On October 10, in the northwest of the country, he came across a plastic bag full of money totaling $ 50,000 while on a motorcycle. Much to the surprise of his friends, the young man returns the money to his owner, a businesswoman, after hearing her send a message on the radio the next day.

“My parents didn’t teach me to fly”

“My friends told me that I was very stupid and that I will never get rich in my life”, laughs Emmanuel Tuloe. “My parents didn’t teach me to steal, so I decided to give back the money that doesn’t belong to me.”

The president of Liberia, former football star George Weah, invited Emmanuel Tuloe to an audience at the presidential palace earlier this week in Monrovia, to give him multiple “gifts” for his honesty.

“I don’t think I’ll be poor like my friends predicted,” said Emmanuel Tuloe, explaining that his dream is to become a doctor or a nurse. I encourage all my friends not to take what is not theirs ”.

Liberia, a poor country of 5 million people, is still recovering from the consecutive civil wars of 1989-2003 and the Ebola crisis of 2014-2016 in West Africa. The country also suffers from high inflation and frequent liquidity shortages. According to the World Bank, 44% of the Liberian population live on less than 1.9 dollars (1.6 euros) per day.

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