NEW YORK - A woman says her faith in humanity is restored after a good Samaritan returned $10,000.
The two New Yorkers were strangers until they met Thursday. Aiya Tulemaganbetova hugging Richard Taverna and giving him a golden statue of a soldier which symbolizes strength and honor in her home country of Kazakhstan.
Taverna discovered her purse on the platform at the 66th Street Station back in December. Inside were a hundred $100 bills.
He turned it over to police, who realized the missing money had been reported a day earlier by Tulemaganbetova.
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Through a translator, she told WCBS she accidentally left her bag on a subway bench while in a rush to make her flight back home to Kazakhstan for the holidays.
She says all that money was meant to buy her children's Christmas presents and she never thought she'd get it back, until she got a call with the good news.
Tulemaganbetova said that Taverna is an extremely honest person and what he's done changed her perception of how people live in the United States.
"It pretty much wasn't mine and I knew somebody was in a pretty bad shape at that point -- was pretty upset, so it was never any question about turning it in," said Taverna.
Grateful for getting all her money back, Tulemaganbetova decided to pay it forward by donating $1,000 to a children's charity in Taverna's name.