Topic: Society

William Fogarty
(August 2006)

If ethical means doing the right thing when nobody is looking, what is it called when you do the right thing when nobody is looking and it won’t matter to anyone?

William Fogarty, is an 86 year-old retiree now living in Palm Harbor, Florida. In 1946, he received a parking ticket in Norfolk, Virginia, and forgot to mail the money order he had filled out to pay the fine, which was exactly one dollar. He mailed the money order to the Norfolk police.

Now, the cynical among you might say he was grandstanding, or seeking publicity. Or that he was being foolish to pay such a long-forgotten and negligible fine. But the Scoreboard doesn’t think so. The Scoreboard thinks that William Fogarty realized that he had not discharged his civic duty, and took the trouble to pay the 60 year old fine because it was the right thing to do. It didn’t matter that nobody else remembered, or that the dollar wouldn’t buy a half a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s, or even whether the Norfolk police cared one bit about such a trivial fine. What mattered to Mr. Fogarty were honesty, honor, responsibility and citizenship, ethical values all. It mattered that after 86 years, he still lived by them.

That’s worth a lot more than a dollar.

OhÂ…the Norfolk police are going to frame the money order. They say it restored their faith in mankind.

Ethics Heroes can do that.

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