A 12-year-old Buffalo girl arrived at school earlier this week, looking to impress her classmates.
When she started peeling fifties and hundreds off a fat wad of cash and handing out the bills, she made a very big impression.
And by the end of the day, the pupils at Buffalo United Charter School were nearly $2,000 richer.
One problem: The money wasn't hers. And the juvenile is now charged with grand larceny.
The girl's 23-year-old foster brother had been saving money to help with medical expenses for his chronically ill 2-year-old daughter and then giving the cash to his mother for safe keeping.
"I work a lot, so my mother was holding on to it. The plan was to get a bank account so we'd have a substantial amount of money for my daughter," said Vaughn Davis, an emergency medical technician with Twin City Ambulance.
Davis' fiancee, the mother of his daughter, died as a result of a difficult pregnancy.
Exactly how his foster sister managed to swipe the money is unknown, Davis said. What is clear is that she took the nest egg to school.
"She told me she wanted to show kids she had money," Davis said of the explanation she offered him.
But not all of the money was handed out. At some point, the youngster stopped by a mobile phone store in the University District and was able to open up an account and purchase a phone.
"Technically, you need to be 18 to get a phone, and she doesn't even look 14 and she was wearing her school uniform when she went to the store," Davis said. "She also bought a purse. I guess that was to hold the money."
When Principal Tammy Messmer learned of the cash giveaway, she went throughout the school attempting to recover the money, according to Northeast District police.
So far, the principal has collected $651. Davis expressed hope that other pupils would return his money.
"We are working to make every effort to recoup as much of the money as we can for the family, and we greatly appreciate the cooperation of our parents and students," Messmer said Thursday.
Davis says his daughter, Aylahna Quigley, was born prematurely in February 2006 and has lung problems and other medical complications that have landed her in the hospital for lengthy stays.
It was, in fact, her birth and her mother's death, Davis said, that inspired him to want to help others by becoming an emergency medical technician.
"My fiancee had a blood clot on her lung and died when she was carrying our daughter at 6 months. The doctors did an emergency C-section," he said.
And as for his foster sister, he says he forgives her, though he does not know if his mother, Gihihldah Bey, will continue to let her stay at their Stevens Avenue home.
"Everyone does something wrong when they're growing up," Davis said. "I was raised to forgive, especially children, because they don't know any better."