Rewards keep on coming for Ackaisha Green, the mother of two who stumbled upon a stash of cash inside an ATM in downtown Kingston last month and handed it over to the police, despite the fact that she was in dire need of money.
Since the Jamaica Observer broke the story on May 6, Green — who was berated by her mother for returning the money — has been receiving help in the form of cash, admission to the HEART Trust/NTA, and job offers. In addition, last Friday she was invited to the Senate where members of the Upper House showered her with praise for her honesty.
On Wednesday, Nestle Jamaica Health and Wellness Foundation (NJHWF) delivered on its promise of assistance, that was recently announced in partnership with the J Wray & Nephew (JWN) Foundation, by presenting Green with a one-year supply of grocery items from Nestle.
The presentation was made at the company’s Ferry Pen head office in Kingston.
Green was with her one-year-old son Joshua inside the ATM at Central Police Station on East Queen Street when she noticed he was very preoccupied with a large transparent plastic with money.
“Mi swear say a paper him a play with. When mi bend down and look is a bag of money the baby bend down a play with. You know the clear bag, like comforter spread bag, one whole heap a money wrap up together,” she told the Observer.
Noting that the bag contained $5,000 and $1,000 notes, the 24-year-old woman said she immediately went inside the police station and handed over the money to the police.
Within minutes, an armoured truck bearer, who had apparently forgotten the bag of money in the ATM, ran into the station, breathless. The undisclosed sum of money was subsequently handed over to him, police at the station said.
During the Observer interview at Green’s home on James Street in central Kingston, she received a heavy tongue-lashing from her mother who described her as “the stupidest of all my children”.
“A mi she beg $200 this morning to give her son to go to school,” the mother complained, with a loud hiss of her teeth.
However, Green insisted that turning over the money to the police was the right thing to do.
Green told the Observer that her three-month contract at the University Hospital of the West Indies, where she worked as a porter, had ended recently. “Mi have use fi di money; mi coulda take the money, but it no belong to me. Right now me would a love some of it, but that was the right thing to do,” she repeated, as she got ready to visit an employment agency.
Last week, JWN Foundation rewarded Green with $1.2 million, most of which will go towards her and her two sons’ education.
The foundation said $1 million is earmarked for that aspect, while $100,000 was provided in vouchers to purchase food and an additional $100,000 has been set aside for an entrepreneurial venture and a fridge, which Green had indicated was badly needed at her house.
In addition to granting Green admission to pursue her desired course in housekeeping, HEART Trust/NTA named her its first ambassador.
“We are going to take you around to speak to other young people, to spread the message, so when we do our professional and development sessions we are going to be inviting you to ensure that you are that beacon of hope for young people,” HEART Trust/NTA director of Employment and Career Services Rayharna Wright told Green at the agency’s Oxford Road office in St Andrew.
Offers of assistance have also been extended to Green by NCB Foundation, Bank of Jamaica, and KingAlarm Limited. Other Observer readers who pledged to help said they wanted to do so without fanfare.
Responding to criticism she received, especially from social media users, for returning the money, Green said: “It doesn’t matter what the world is going to say about me, giving it back was the right thing to do. It wasn’t mine.”