(T&T GUARDIAN) – An act of honesty has earned a young lady high praise and has gone viral as more people learn about it.
“Don’t let anyone’s money and luxurious items burn your eyes. Work hard for what you want in life!”
That was the advice which Isha recalled from her mother while growing up.
The advice paid off on Saturday for Isha, 17, an employee of McDonald’s Cipriani Boulevard branch, when she stumbled upon a wallet belonging to former T&T national footballer Ricarda Nelson in the restaurant’s washroom which held with a significant amount of US currency, TT dollars and bank cards.
The teenager handed her manager the wallet and when Nelson, 51, showed up at the restaurant hours later to find out if it was there, surprisingly it was handed over to her with everything intact.
“I didn’t open the wallet. I just wanted the owner to collect it because I know when I lost something that is valuable to me, it pains,” Isha said in an interview at the family’s home in Diego Martin yesterday.
Nelson refused to disclose to the T&T Guardian the amount of money the wallet contained, stating it was quite a lot of US and T&T currency, including a number of credit cards and her national ID.
Isha’s honesty led to Nelson posting on her Facebook page on Saturday about the young lady’s good deed, stating that there are still young people in T&T that “we can trust and she should serve as a positive role model to others in society.”
Up to late yesterday, Nelson’s post attracted 15,000 likes, 9,000 shares and 2,900 positive and congratulatory comments.
Many people praised and commended Isha for a “job well done” and even recommended that she be given McDonald’s employee of the year award for her honesty.
“I am sending a warning to McDonald’s that I will be competing with them for Isha to join my company which is expected to get off the ground soon. That is no idle boast,” Nelson said yesterday.
“Isha is like a rare gem. You hardly find people like her,” Nelson said.
Nelson said she also has a surprise in store for Isha, who has far to go in life for her principles and integrity.
Yesterday, Isha credited her 51- year-old mother, Debra Clarke, a single parent of four, for inculcating in her the right values and teachings as a child.
“Everyday my mother would pound into my head not to let other people’s money and luxurious items burn my eyes and to work hard for what I want in life. If I didn’t grow up listening to her motherly advice, chances are, I might have been tempted to steal the money in the wallet,” Isha said.
Debra admitted that her daughter has a big heart, even though she grew up without a father’s love, care and attention.
“Her father plays no role in her life. As a mother, I try my best even though things are tough. I have not been paid my salary by CEPEP and my $1,800 monthly rent is way overdue. Isha could have easily swiped the money from the wallet to assist in the payment of the rent, but it would have been against her conscience to do that because I always showed her right from wrong. As difficult as things might be, she knows better. I for one would not encourage any dishonesty and stealing in this house,” Debra interjected.
Debra said many parents encourage and support their children to steal and rob, which has been breaking down society.
Two months ago, Clarke left her sales clerk job and joined McDonald’s as a cashier, stating she wanted to try something new.
Having graduated last year with three O’level passes at her Mucurapo West Secondary School, Clarke enrolled in the Polytechnic Institute in St James where she began pursuing O’ Level Mathematics and Social Studies.
In her quest to further her daughter’s education, Debra admitted that she took half of her $2,600 monthly salary to get her daughter enrolled at the institute.
The salary Isha’s earns, Debra said, is barely enough to travel to and from work.
“After I put out that money for her classes we barely had anything to eat in the house, but we pulled through,” Debra said.
Debra’s two elder children live on their own, while Isha’s older brother is pursuing a course.
Four days a week, Isha juggles school and work, which she described as hectic and time consuming.
She admitted to having trouble coping with Maths.
Next month Isha will be writing exams.
Thereafter, she wants to pursue O’ Level human and social biology, as she has her heart set on becoming a nurse but is unable to buy her books and pay for her tuition.
“Being a nurse is my long life dream …I always wanted to become a health care provider. This passion came after attending to my mother who suffers with a slip disc in her back. I don’t like seeing people in pain.”