VINELAND - A Sabater Elementary School fifth-grader was commended for her honesty after turning in a wallet she found that contained more than $200 in cash.
Amiya Hopewell was visiting her grandfather, Fran Nicolo, on Sunday when she suggested they make their regular run to Burger King for her favorite treat.
“Nuggets,” she said.
About two hours later, Nicolo agreed to take her.
Amiya said she was running into the restaurant, located in the 300 block of North Delsea Drive, when she spotted something unusual.
“The purse was there in a parking spot,” Amiya told The Daily Journal.
She scooped it up, gave it to her grandfather and they took it to the South Sixth Street police headquarters.
It was important to Amiya that they do so. A while back, she said, she lost her purse in a local shop and it was never returned.
“I was depressed,” the 11-year-old said, “But it didn’t have any money in it.”
After giving the wallet to the officer at the front desk, Nicolo stopped to chat with an officer he knew.
During that time, police were able to track down the owner of the wallet, who arrived at the police station to claim it.
“She was crying, she thought she had lost everything,” Nicolo said.
At that time, Amiya said she had a wave of emotions.
“I felt bad for her,” she said, recalling what it felt like to lose a purse. “I felt like I was going to cry but I didn’t.”
Watching the woman’s joy at having her wallet returned, Amiya said, “that made me feel good.”
The wallet owner thanked Amiya and gave her a $10 reward.
Police Lt. Dave Cardana commended the girl for doing the right thing. He doubled the reward.
Amiya’s mom, Linee Ellis, said she had raised her daughter to do the right thing and when the time came, she did.
“I’m proud of her,” she said.
Nicolo told his granddaughter that the good deed was the result of some divine intervention. If they hadn’t delayed their fast food trip by two hours, he told her she might not have found the wallet.
“God had it set up,” he said.