Four college students proved that honesty pays when they left money for items they took from an unattended store.
The transaction involving the William Paterson University students occurred Sunday and was captured by a security camera in Buddy’s Small Lots, a family-owned variety store in Wayne, N.J.
Jelani Bruce, Anthony Biondi, Thomas James, and Kell'e Gallimore entered the store to buy items for their dorm rooms, ABC News reported
. After failing to locate a clerk, the students approached the register, waved money and their items at the security camera, put it on the counter, and left.
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"I wanted to put the money on the counter, just in case there was gonna be any misconception," James, 18, told ABC News. "Once I did that I knew we were good."
Initially, an employee at the store thought the teens were up to no good when a neighboring business told her the young men had been seen entering and leaving. The front door had been left open due to a malfunctioning lock, said Marci Lederman, Director of Operations at Buddy's Small Lots.
After viewing the surveillance tapes, Lederman asked the mystery shoppers to come forward. The security video was first aired by News 12 New Jersey
"It makes me proud that our young community is so honest and understands the difference between right and wrong," Lederman told ABC News.
She rewarded each student, all members of the university football team, with a $50 shopping spree.
"It shows that everyone is different, and you can't judge a book by its cover," James said.
Posters on an ABC "Good Morning America" story
praised the students.
“Those are some very good boys. You were brought up with the right morals and values that I wish all younger people understood. Congratulations for your honesty, and Kudos to your parents and all that made you who you are today. Job well done.”
Wrote another: “I am so glad these 4 young men are getting worldwide attention! This shows other young people that honesty and integrity will be rewarded in positive feedback on them.”
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