Tunisian waiter returns $85 million deposited by mistake in his bank account

March 29, 2010


A Tunisian waiter chose not to follow the old saying “Finders keepers, losers weepers” when he discovered that 120 million Tunisian Dinars ($85 million) were deposited by mistake in his bank account and returned them to the bank.

Habib Omrani, a waiter in a restaurant in the coastal city of Sousse, 150 kilometres south of Tunis, the capital, discovered the amount that made him an instant millionaire minutes after he deposited TD 120 ($85).

“I looked at the bank receipt after I left the bank and I was shocked to see the six zeros that took the deposited amount to TD120 million,” he said. “I was totally overwhelmed and did not know what to do,” he told Tunisian daily Echerouk.

When he reached the restaurant, he could not hold himself and told his colleagues about the banking incident.

“News spread like wild fire and soon I was submerged with suggestions from colleagues, friends and lawyers. Their views ranged from returning the money to hiring a lawyer who would help me keep at least TD 1 million,” he said.

However, Habib, known among his friends as “Habboob”, said that he did not allow himself to get carried away.

“Past the initial shock, all I was thinking about was the poor banker who made the mistake. I am sure he was exhausted and inadvertently added the six zeros and I should hate to be the cause of his devastation,” he said.

Shrugging off all suggestions to bargain with the bank and keep some of the money, Habib went bank to the teller and informed him about the mistake.

“I admit the temptation was big, but I have never accepted any money that is not rightfully mine. I am a God-fearing person and would rather be called stupid or naïve for returning the money than be known as a thief who stole cash or caused harm to innocent people,” Habib said.



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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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