Unidentified Homeless Man
It’s a simple story.
A homeless man in Santa Ana, California found a wallet full of money in a garbage bin and made sure that it was returned to its rightful owner intact.
The wallet’s owner had tossed it into the trash by mistake, and the homeless man found it while searching for cans to recycle. He did not want to be identified. He just wanted to return the property.
This simple incident epitomizes ethical conduct. There were abundant rationalizations available that the man could have used to justify keeping the wallet’s $900 contents. For example:
There were all these rationalizations and more, but the man who found the wallet also found them insufficient to overcome his sense of right and wrong. The wallet was obviously lost, and belonged to someone else. The right thing to do, and the only right thing to do, was to return it along with everything inside.
So that’s what he did.
Simple as that.
But it isn’t so simple at all. It takes courage, fortitude principle and character to behave ethically when there are so many attractive and seductive excuses to do something else. The Scoreboard’s Ethics Hero for April may be homeless and nameless, but should be a role model to us all.
© 2007 Jack Marshall & ProEthics, Ltd Disclaimers, Permissions & Legal Stuff Content & Corrections Policy