Would you be tempted?
Have you ever read or known of a situation in which a person faced a tough moral or ethical dilemma and made what you know is the right decision, but you asked yourself: Would I have made that same decision?
I read about such a situation recently and it made me hope that I would have acted the same way.
According to an AP news story, Mitch Gilbert of Greenwood Village, Colo., was waiting to board a flight in Las Vegas when he found two unmarked Caesar’s Palace envelopes at the airport. He picked them up and boarded his flight. When he arrived home, he discovered there was money inside: a total of $10,000.
Think about his situation for a moment. He has $10,000 free and clear. He found the money in unmarked envelopes, and there was no apparent way the money could be traced to him. No one knew he had the envelopes and the money. Think of what he could do with $10,000.
What would you do? What would I do?
What did Mr. Gilbert do? He returned the money to the owner because he wanted to show his children it was “the right thing to do.” How great it would be if more children saw that kind of example from their parents!
Mr. Gilbert called the airport and eventually got in touch with a man from El Paso, Tex., who had reported the money missing. Mr. Gilbert deposited the money in the man’s bank account two days before Christmas. The Texas man said he had won the money gambling and had dropped it while running to catch a flight. The AP story gave no indication whether the Texas man offered or gave a reward to Mr. Gilbert.
With all of the immoral and unethical decisions we hear about in today’s world, it was reassuring to read about a person willing to do the right thing in a situation in which, I believe, most people would not have chosen the same course of action.
Would you have been tempted to keep the money? Would I? Perhaps the key question is: Who would not have been tempted to keep it?
Beyond that, the more significant question is: How many of us would have made the same decision as Mr. Gilbert?
I’ve had a similar experience. Julie, my wife, and I found an envelope with cash in it lying on the parking lot. Honestly, I was going to keep it but Julie wanted to find out to whom it belonged. It turned out to belong to a friend of ours who needed the money and had worked very hard for it. I was ashamed of myself and proud of my wife.
Wow! Now THAT’S integrity!