My girlfriend and her mom accompanied me on a trip… [As we were sitting in a hotel lobby], I noticed there was 75 cents sitting on the cushion. I picked up the quarters, and a debate followed on how to behave ethically in this situation. None of us agreed on what to do.
Obviously, one choice is to pocket the money and spend it as you wish. But some feel that you should spend it by donating to charity or something selfless. Another option is to give the money to an authority figure, in this case, a hotel employee, no matter how unlikely it is that they would find the honest rightful owner. There is also the option of asking the people in the lobby if it is theirs, but again, you’re might be fighting against odds and honesty issues. Lastly, some people just opt to leave the money, deciding it’s not their money or their problem to resolve.
I’ve since brought this up in conversations with friends, and I am amazed at the varying actions that people say they would take. What if it was more money? What if it was on a public sidewalk instead of a hotel? What if it was in your apartment complex? How do you tell if someone is being honest with you? What if you had an idea of whose money is, or even saw them drop it? What if you were starving?… So there is my dilemma.
Contributed by anonymous.
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