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Toronto Muslim Returns Stolen Jacket to Owner

Toronto Muslim Returns Stolen Jacket to Owner
Wael Wabha bought a winter coat, only to realize it had actually been stolen. So he worked hard to get it back to its owner, and eventually found him. (Richard Lautens / Toronto Star)

TORONTO – A Toronto Muslim restaurant worker has determinedly tracked down the owner of a stolen jacket, refusing to get a reward.

“I am a Muslim guy,” Wael Wahba told Toronto Star.

“In my religion, this is something that is called haram — not legal,” he said.

Wahba was working in the restaurant when a man walked into the restaurant and said someone gave him the coat because he was homeless, but that he didn’t need it anymore.

He offered it to Wahba for whatever he was able to spare, so Wahba gave the man $10. When he got home, he checked the pockets and found the wallet of the jacket owner David Cohen and his ID.

Cohen’s jacket was stolen from his car on the same day.

“That’s brutal,” Cohen thought after discovering the car’s broken windows. “It’s a Canadian winter jacket, they’re not cheap.”

Losing all his credit cards, driving license, and ID, he started making calls to cancel his cards on the way to work.

“I just figured I’m never seeing that again,” he said. “My car was broken into, that’s the end of it.”

Hope came later that day when Cohen got a voicemail from the concierge at the condominium where he used to live saying there was someone at the front counter looking to return his wallet and jacket.

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Cohen had missed the phone call, therefore Wahba managed to track him down on Facebook and let him know in a message that he had the jacket and wallet at the restaurant where he works.

“I told her no,” Wahba said when Cohen’s wife offered him money.

“He was absolutely insistent,” Cohen said.

“‘This is what any good person would do. It didn’t cross my mind to do anything else,’” Cohen remembers Wahba saying.

“I’m sure if you were in the same situation, David, you (would do) the same,” Wahba said he told Cohen. “I told him, ‘If you find another person who is poor or who needs this money, you can give it to him.’”

Wahba said he was determined to track Cohen down quickly so he didn’t have to go without his driver’s license or credit cards.

“I (was) very sure he needs his license, he needs his cards. … And maybe he needs money, he needs something from his card … he can’t drive,” he said.

“So I (was) trying to help him as fast as I can, because maybe his life has stopped, his life has a problem if he doesn’t have his cards, his license.”

Determined to give due thanks to Wahba, Cohen went back to the Syrian restaurant where Wahba works to tell his manager what a stellar employee he had on his hands.

“I’ll certainly be coming back,” he said with a laugh. “It was delicious.”


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