What would you do?

Last week, when I was tucking my son into bed,  I shared with him a story I had read that day about  a third grade girl who returned $4,000 outside of a Sam’s club in Maine. My 11-year-old son laughed and said, “I wouldn’t have returned the money.” “Really?” I said, “If you found a huge wade of cash you would be able to keep it even though you would know that someone else lost it?” “Yup” he said. We got into such a heated and loud discussion that by the time I moved into my daughter’s room to start asking her what she would do, she was irritated with both of us and just to get me out of her room quickly she said, “Yes, I’d give the money back, probably.”

So what would you do, if you found a wad of $100’s totalling nearly $4,000? I had forgotten a couple of important details when I mentioned the story to my kids, first of all it wasn’t a plastic supermarket shopping back with no identification as my son had first thought. It was a small green pouch with not only $4000 worth of $100’s wrapped up with rubber bands, but also some small gold rings and a card with a name from a local credit union. The next day, when I continued the discussion with my son, he said,  “Well you didn’t tell me that. I guess if we knew who it possibly belonged to of course I’d return it.”

For me, it doesn’t matter though if there was a name on it or not. If I found $4000 I would report it to the police. $4000 is a lot of money and there is no way I could ever believe that it was mine to keep just because I found it on the street. It even reminded me of a story from several years ago where I ended up essentially “stealing” a purse from Target by accident. I went back and paid for it because I knew I couldn’t use and enjoy the purse if I didn’t. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t some amount of cold, hard untraceable cash that if found on the street I wouldn’t just keep. I started thinking about it and I decided $20, $50 even $100 if it was just laying on the street I would probably keep. However, if it was more than that I would probably go to some effort to try to find the owner, perhaps posting a sign in the area or going to a local store to report it if there was one nearby. Of course, it totally depends on the situation. This little girl found the money outside of a Sam’s club so if nothing else she could report it to that store and the local police.

Anyway, interesting case study to consider what you might do if you had been the one to wander upon $4000 lying in the street. Luckily, for Rim Ha her angel was in the form of a young and very honest girl names Abbie!

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