Teacher turns in $6,000 cash, $15,000 check discovered in backpack near school

‘This is called honesty and people have to be honest,’ middle school teacher says

Orlando News 6 | by James Sparvero | August 31, 2020

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. – When Spanish teacher Leo Nicaragua saw a backpack in the middle of Fiske Boulevard Thursday at dismissal, he figured somebody was about to pick it up.

But no students or drivers removed it from the crosswalk at Kennedy Middle School, so Nicaragua took a closer look.

“I see a big pile of money and I’m like, ‘No, this is not a student’s bag.’ So I got all scared and put the money back in the bag,” he said.

Next, Nicaragua said he brought the bag to his school resource officer.

Rockledge police said the bag contained $6,000 in cash, a $15,000 check, three vehicle titles, a box of medical masks, a box of latex gloves and Lysol wipes.

News 6 located the owner of the bag and he said the cash was a month’s payroll for the employees of his business and that he accidentally put the bag on top of his car as he was leaving the gas station at Fiske Boulevard and Eyster.

Police said the owner got everything back thanks to the teacher who didn’t take a single bill.

Nicaragua said the same day he found the bag, his bank emailed him that his bank account had reached zero or below zero.

“But there was not one instant that I thought I need this money for me,” he said. “The minute I saw the money, I thought someone lost this money and someone needs to get their money back,” Nicaragua continued.

He said his friends told him he’s a hero, but he believes he was just being honest.

“People don’t need to be rewarded or anything for things they should do,” Nicaragua said.

Now, the teacher might get rewarded after all.

The owner of the money told News 6 that he’s going to call Nicaragua and offer him a reward for doing the right thing.

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