What Would Josephine Ugwu Do? Airport Cleaner An Inspiration

Open Jaw

Imagine you make $40 per month cleaning airport bathrooms for 12 hr. per day. During your labours you find a lost bag containing nearly $60,000 in cash. What would you do?


For Josephine Ugwu, the decision was easy. It’s not the 1st time she’s found cash, and as she has done before she immediately reported her discovery and attempted reach the bag’s rightful owner.


Ugwu works for Patovilki, a company that handles the cleaning and servicing of Murtala Mohammed International Airport (LOS).


According to local reporter Lawani Mikairo, Ugwu did not win praise for her ethics. Instead she was mocked by colleagues and by strangers on social media, for not keeping the cash. Even the owner of the lost money apparently casually shrugged off the misplacement and showed little appreciation for Ugwu’s kindness.


It didn’t phase Ugwu, however. She told a local newspaper: “People should appreci­ate what they have. People do a lot of bad things because they are not happy with what they have. With the little I earn, I try to manage it well.”


Ugwu’s action eventually earned more positive recognition. LOS airport authorities told USA Today’s Road Warrior Voices that upon learning of Ugwu’s story this past spring, The Lagos State House of Assembly recognized her good deed with a prestigious award for outstanding character. Ugwu is one of just 16 Nigerians to have received this national honour.


An airport spokesman also said that Ugwu has been receiving monetary gifts from locals who have learned of her story and are impressed with her actions. Her employer jumped into the fray, too, doubling her salary to $80 per month. Even at the new salary, the money Ugwu found would have lasted 62.5 years.

(will not be published)