Ethics Hero: Guess Who!
(March 2007)

If the great Paul Harvey were telling this Ethics Hero story, it might go something like this:

The man distinguished-looking, gray-haired man with the dapper moustache felt badly. He hated to be irresponsible more than anything. He was a military man, a former Air Force fighter pilot, trained for combat .He knew about obligations and duty. But he had borrowed a book from the Danville Library, requiring an interlibrary loan from Fresno State, and failed to return it on time. And now the book was not only overdue, he was embarrassed to have to admit, but also probably lost.

The man called the librarians to apologize, and said that he would replace the book. Where was it? Oh, the man knew the answer to that question. The book was in the cargo hold of the US Airways plane that had made a dramatic emergency landing in New York's Hudson River. He doubted that its pages would still be readable when and if the book was recovered from the icy waters.

The librarians at Fresno state were not push-overs for excuses from irresponsible book-borrowers, not at all. They had heard every excuse imaginable through the years. And few stories were as unlikely as this one. But this book-borrower wasn’t making an excuse, just explaining how he came to be unable to return their book. The Fresno State librarians were so impressed with his honesty and sense of accountability that they waived all fines, and even the reimbursement fee for the lost tome. Who was this man whose forthright character inspired the steely-eyed librarians to be merciful?

His name was Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the skilled and courageous pilot who landed that U.S. Air passenger plane safely in the river after it had lost both engines colliding with a flock of Canada geese. One-hundred and fifty-five passengers owe him their lives, but he couldn’t save his borrowed library book. He was still responsible for it, you see, and even while he was being praised and honored all across the great land, Captain Sullenberger wasn’t going to forget about that book. And it’s easy to understand why.

Its title?

“Professional Ethics,” of course.

And there you have…the rest of the story!

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