August 29, 2012

Maine girl takes path of righteousness, ends up at Bieber concert

A local bank rewards 8-year-old Abbie Jacobson with tickets after she found more than $4,000 and insisted on locating the owner.

By David Hench
Staff Writer


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Abbie Jacobson, 8, of Scarborough, found more than $4,000 that belonged to Ra Rim, a immigrant from Cambodia, who lost the money while shopping. Abbie’s first response was to find the owner of the money. Abbie Jacobson, 8, of Scarborough, found more than $4,000 that belonged to Ra Rim, a immigrant from Cambodia, who lost the money while shopping. Abbie’s first response was to find the owner of the money.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

Justin Bieber
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Justin Bieber

Alexandre Meneghini

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Good things do happen to good people.

And Abbie Jacobson is one of those people. When she's screaming along with thousands of other young fans at Justin Bieber's Boston concert a couple of months from now, it will be because her moral compass directed her there.

Abbie is the 8-year-old girl from Scarborough who found a small purse containing more than $4,000 outside the local Sam's Club, and instead of keeping the cash, tracked down the rightful owner. She didn't ask for recognition or reward, but she got both.

On Wednesday, Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz shared her story with the world.

Now a local bank is providing Abbie with tickets to the show.

"It's an absolutely great opportunity to have a child shine in the community and we'd like to let her know dreams come true," said Renee Smyth, senior vice president for The Bank of Maine.

Abbie was stunned at the news.

"She cried. I think she's just so overwhelmed right now," said her mother, Jenn Jacobson. "I hugged her and said 'Everybody is so proud of you,' and she just cried and hugged me. ... We were all sobbing."

Abbie's selfless act of honesty happened in the spring when Ra Rim, a Cambodian immigrant planning to return home and provide money for her family there, dropped the purse she thought she had slipped into her moneybelt. Abbie found the purse containing a wad of bills, Cambodian currency and a debit card.

She couldn't find the owner, so she turned in the money to police. Then her mom contacted the credit union that issued the debit card, and staff there alerted Ra Rim that the money had been found.

Abbie never considered keeping the money for herself, her mother told Nemitz.

When pressed on what she would do with that kind of money, Abbie hesitated, then said she would probably try to get tickets to see her idol, Justin Bieber, whose latest album just happens to be called "Believe."

The story, carried on the front page, so moved John Everets, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of The Bank of Maine, that he walked into the office at 2 Canal Plaza in Portland on Wednesday morning with a copy of the paper and the number of a ticket broker.

"He had the physical paper in his hand and put it on my desk and said, 'This is a chance to do something nice for a beautiful little girl,' " Smyth said. He directed Smyth to read the story and then score tickets to the sold-out show at TD Garden in Boston on Nov. 10.

"She wasn't looking for publicity. She's just an outstanding individual and the bank certainly appreciates generous, trustworthy children like her," Smyth said. "It's good parenting, it's probably great teachers, good school and community, probably everything combined that brought her to where she is."

Smyth knows a thing or two about Bieber-mania. She has three children, ages 9, 8 and 6. "We have his songs downloaded on iTunes," she said. "I'm embarrassed to say I do know all the words."

Not only will Abbie be taking in the boy wonder, but the gift includes tickets for her parents and her teenage brother and sister.

And one more good thing: It's not a school night.


Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:


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