Student returns mis-deposited $16,000

By Duc Hung   March 12, 2024 | 06:49 pm PT
Student returns mis-deposited $16,000
Phat (in black) withdraws cash at a bank to return it to the rightful owner on March 7, 2024 witnessed by a bank employee. Photo by Hung Le
After discovering an unexpected deposit of VND400 million ($16,244) in his account from an unknown source, 16-year-old Cao Xuan Phat sought out the money’s rightful owner and returned it.

Phat is a tenth-grader at Nguyen Xuan On High School in Dien Thanh Commune, Dien Chau District, Nghe An Province.

On the morning of March 5, Phat received a notification of a bank transfer. However, he initially overlooked it, assuming it was VND400,000 from his mother, asking him to repay some debt.

The reality of the situation dawned on him the evening of March 6.

Upon checking his account, Phat was taken aback to find that the amount was a staggering VND400 million. He immediately informed his mother, Cao Thi Diep, about the surprise windfall. Together, they concluded that the money had been transferred to them by mistake.

Just as Phat and his mother were about to report the incident to the police and begin seeking the rightful owner of the money via social media, they received another bank transfer notification. This time, it was a modest sum of VND10,000, accompanied by a stranger’s name and phone number.

Inferring that this contact info must belong to the same person who had made the initial transfer, Diep and Phat decided to call the phone number to confirm. After getting verification, they reassured the stranger, and informed them that they planned to visit the bank the next morning for proper verification and subsequent return of the money.

On March 7, Phat and his mother visited the local bank branch in Dien Chau to verify the personal details of the money’s owner.

They were able to confirm that the individual was Tran Thi Thai Hoa, a resident of Can Loc District, Ha Tinh Province. Following the confirmation, Phat promptly returned all of the money to Hoa.

Hoa explained that she had intended to transfer VND400 million to a friend on March 5. However, due to a typing error, the money ended up in Phat’s account instead.

At first, Hoa was worried about the lengthy process of verification necessary to request a refund. However, she was relieved and grateful for the prompt and enthusiastic support from Phat and his mother, which enabled her to recover her money swiftly.

Upon receiving her money back, Hoa graciously offered Phat a reward of VND5 million, which he respectfully declined.

Phat’s mother, Diep, expressed immense pride in her son's display of honesty and integrity. Despite being financially stable through their business, she shared the family's struggles with their children. Diep has five children with her husband, but tragically, three have passed away, leaving only Phat and an older brother, who works in transportation.

Phat is awarded a certificate of merit by the Dien Chau District Youth Union on March 9, 2024. Photo by Hung Le

Phat is awarded a certificate of merit by the Dien Chau District Youth Union on March 9, 2024. Photo by Hung Le

On March 9, the Dien Chau District Youth Union announced that it had worked with the school board of Nguyen Xuan On High School to honor Cao Xuan Phat with a certificate of merit.

This recognition was given to Phat in acknowledgement of his act within the "Good people, good deeds" movement - an initiative that celebrates acts of kindness and community service, thereby promoting the spirit of fellowship and community engagement.

Ngo Thanh Cong, Secretary of Dien Chau District Youth Union, lauded Phat’s integrity.

"This is a great example of honesty, which helps to spread good values among youth union members and the whole community," said Cong.

"We hope there will be more examples of good people doing good deeds in the future."

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