He's a gem of a guy.
An honest Brooklyn cabbie yesterday answered the prayers of a Canadian jewelry dealer by returning a diamond-stuffed suitcase that had been left in the trunk of his yellow cab.
"It's like a perfect miracle," said Thierry Delisha, 32, of Montreal. "I am so proud to meet such an honest gentleman."
Hossam Abdala made the sparkling discovery yesterday, hours after dropping off Delisha and two other men at LaGuardia Airport for a flight to Canada around 7:15 a.m.
In their haste to unload eight pieces of luggage, the men didn't notice until it was too late that Abdala had driven off with a suitcase loaded with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bridal jewelry.
They didn't take a receipt, and had no way of tracking down the cabbie.
"I was in a complete panic," Delisha said. "I called all the rabbis I know personally in Israel and asked them to pray for me."
But he not only had the good fortune of catching a ride with Abdala, he also accidentally dropped his business card in the backseat. Abdala noticed the name on the card matched the name on the suitcase.
One call later to Crown Ring, the company Delisha owns in Montreal, and Abdala tracked down the grateful diamond dealer, who had stayed in New York hoping for a miracle.
"The guy's lucky," said Abdala, 30. "Usually, I find cell phones and things like that, but never very heavy bags filled with diamonds."
Delisha and his partners had been in New York for a jewelry expo at the Javits Convention Center.
They were on their way to another show in Toronto when they discovered they might have to show up empty-handed.
"That would have been terrible," Delisha said. "I thought they were gone for good."
Abdala, whose 12-hour shifts behind the wheel start at 4 a.m., received what Delisha called a "very nice reward" for his good deed.
"In New York, with so many people, I never would have believed this could happen," Delisha said. "I found a very good man."
For Abdala, he was relieved he was able to track down Delisha. They reunited last night at LaGuardia.
"It's the right thing to do," said Abdala, a married father of a 4-year-old girl who immigrated from Egypt in 1997. "I knew I had to find the owner."
The episode reaffirmed Delisha's belief in the power of prayer.
"I'm Jewish and he's Muslim, so there has to be a message from God in this," he said. "I wish there could be more people like him."
Originally published on August 5, 2005