Lark Michael B. Colegado celebrates with his wife and five-year-old daughter at a restaurant in Jeddah. photo by Ronaldo Z. Concha
Lark Michael B. Colegado celebrates with his wife and five-year-old daughter at a restaurant in Jeddah. photo by Ronaldo Z. Concha

A Filipino has been praised for returning SR1.2 million (about $320,000) that he found outside a cash machine to its rightful owner in Tabuk last week.

“I’m very happy. I am proud of myself that in spite of it being such a huge amount, I didn’t feel like taking money which does not belong to me,” said Lark Michael B. Colegado, 34, from Tacloban and Misamis Oriental in the Philippines.

Colegado, a maintenance technician in Jeddah, said he was sent to Tabuk on October 6 to carryout maintenance. It was when he was looking for a place to sit at an ATM machine to carryout work that he found a small box containing the cash.

Colegado immediately informed his superiors and the money was returned to its owner.

“I could have been richer if I kept that money, but I was raised by my family to be an honest person so it did not enter my mind, although I was really scared when I found the box,” he said.

He also informed his Pakistani helper who was with him about the incident and told his bosses on returning to Jeddah. In an e-mail from his managers, Colegado was told that they were proud to have him in their team and thanked him for doing what is right.

The Filipino community invited Colegado to a function at Laparilla restaurant to felicitate him. Leaders of different Filipino organizations also attended the event and handed Colegado a certificate of appreciation.

“What Colegado did is very timely. At this point in time when we have lots of Filipinos facing financial problems in this country, here comes a man returning a very big amount of money he found with no regret,” said Filcom leader Jauhari Usman.

“Honestly speaking, the huge amount found was really tempting. If anybody finds such an amount, I do not know what he or she would do. What Colegado did is really admirable and has boosted my morale as a Filipino,” he added.

“In spite of the very bad situation in our country, we can still see some people like Colegado doing a great thing and it is a real honor for all Filipinos. It shows the world that we are a trustworthy people,” said Rudy Castro, chairman of the Overseas Filipino Workers Cooperative Council.

“We are proud of you and, on behalf of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) and the Filipinos here in Jeddah, congratulate you. Your kindness shines in spite of the flood left by Ondoy and Pepeng,” said Joey Villanueva, chairman of PICPA.

“I proudly tell you that I’m proud to be a Filipino because of you,” Villanueva said.

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