View Full Version : Honesty. Apparently it's a rare thing?

05-19-2011, 04:57 AM
So this starts a few years ago when the stone was lost from my engagement ring. We have a rider on our insurance so it was covered and so they sent out a gemologist to our home to replace the stone.

Several months later, I was cleaning out the back half of the king cab on my pick-up and pulled the floormats out (I had previously searched the truck half a dozen times but it never occurred to me to take out the back mats). Sure enough, sitting all by itself on the black vinyl floor was the original stone.

I called the insurance company and told them I had found it, again months after the claim had been handled and closed so it had been close to ten months or so since I'd filed the original claim.

They had no idea what to do. No one had ever done this before. There were no forms, no procedures and no precedent for how to handle it if someone finds what they'd lost originally. I must have spoken to half a dozen people before I ended up getting someone's boss on the phone who asked me what I wanted to do. I said that if it wasn't too much trouble, I'd like to have the original stone re-set and give them back the replacement since the original has some sentimental value. He was stunned and quickly offered to pay for the stone to be re-set and sent me all the packaging and shipping to return the replacement.

I figured this was an isolated incident.

Yesterday, The Husband found a Kindle on the train (he's a conductor). He didn't want to turn it in to Lost and Found because he's always worried the more valuable items might disappear. In the past he's brought them home while he asked around for (or was asked by) the owner and he returned it. He's never failed to find the owner of anything valuable (we've gotten the occasional free umbrella or pair of gloves over the last 30 years, but the laptops and ipods he's found have always gotten back to their owner)

Never having had a Kindle, I tried to find an e-mail address or some way of contacting the owner on the device. I finally gave up and called Amazon to ask them how to find the owner.

I explained that I had found a lost Kindle and I was trying to return it. They asked for my account information and I was a bit confused but after I gave it they followed up with "So you want to return your Kindle. What's wrong with it?"

I patiently explained again that it wasn't my Kindle but one I'd found that I wanted to return to its owner.

"Oh. One moment while I transfer you."

The same exact conversation was repeated and I was shunted to a third person. He told me that no one had ever called them to return someone's Kindle before and that's why they kept passing me along. No one knew how to handle it. I gave him the serial number and he e-mailed me a pre-paid UPS label so I could ship it back to Amazon since they couldn't release any info about they owner (listed only as 'Atsuko' on the Kindle).

I just find it kinda sad that a major insurance company and a major online retailer don't know what to do when someone returns something that was lost. I would have thought there were procedures in place, but apparently most folks just keep things instead of returning them.

It's a pretty depressing thought :(

05-19-2011, 05:12 AM
The first one's a bit amazing, but I'm not surprised about the second scenario. I'm not sure it would ever occur to most folks that since Kindles are really only sold in one place, that they can all be traced (unless they've been resold and the new owner somehow gets books onto it in some other way).

05-19-2011, 05:23 AM
Similar things have happened to me over the years, mostly involving me finding money or seeing someone drop money and chasing them down to bring it back. The largest sum I ever found was $200 in cash sitting on some magazines at the front counter of the local grocery store. I was shopping with my Mum and while we were standing there I pointed the money out, then picked it up and handed it to the front desk to tell the sales assistant where I'd found it in-case someone came back to claim it. On our way home my Mother turned to me and said 'why didn't you keep that money?' I know she would have but I just... couldn't. And never could. If it's not mine and I didn't earn it there's no way I could enjoy it, besides my conscience is brutal and would guilt trip me every time I tried to use what-ever it was I'd bought with my ill-gotten gains. Plus the thought of someone freaking out over losing that much cash makes me sad. I'll even chase someone down for dropping a $5 note, I'm struggling financially right now and $5 is a lot of money when you're poor.

Good on you Gaelforce, stories like this renew a small amount faith I have in humanity. If only this sort of behavior was the norm, it also shocks me that people are surprised that you would be honest and return something that isn't yours.

05-19-2011, 06:29 AM
I agree, that's kind of sad, but I can totally believe it.

If it's something like a physical object, I'll try really hard to find the owner, but there's only so much you can do with money. I have a policy when it comes to finding money: it's mine unless I hear someone say they lost cash. I'm a really honest person, but I'm not naive enough to shout "Anyone lose 20 bucks?" But, if I hear someone freaking out that they dropped a bill, my conscience would kill me until I gave it back to them.

05-19-2011, 10:53 PM
When I was about 18 or 19, I once clipped a side mirror on a car parked on one side of a narrow road. I knocked on all the doors of the house it was in front of, and when no one answered, I left a note on the windshield with my address and phone number. My mom was naturally proud of me, but when she told a friend the story, her friend (who also has kids about my age) gasped and said "Why did she leave a note? Why didn't she just drive away?"

Keep in mind, this was under $100 worth of damage--no one even bothered to get insurance involved it was so minor. I can understand a gut reaction of "drive away now!!"-- I certainly felt that when it first happened--but seriously, grow up and take even the most minor of responsibility for your actions!

05-20-2011, 10:00 AM
Those are cool stories! Honesty is prizeless, and I remember not long time ago, in Buenos Aires, how a very poor taxi driver found a case in the car, from his last customer and there were almost 100,000 U$S inside. He did not hesitate, and he returned the money to the owner!

About me, years ago I found a brand new and expensive cellphone in the street, and an hour later I was returning it to the person who lost it. It was his boss´s cellphone.
I will never forget the man´s face, filled with relief. :)

05-20-2011, 10:28 AM
I had just founf this article (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110520/ap_on_fe_st/us_found_money)and it´s worthy the read.


Karen El
05-20-2011, 10:50 AM
I agree honesty is rare, but I sometimes think it's overrated. Or at least I should say I've had experience of people who were honest about the wrong things.

Frexample, I knew this one woman who was scrupulously honest in some ways. She'd walk half a mile back to the supermarket to return a few pennies extra she'd received in her change. And yet at the same time she was hugely dishonest to herself and her friends, rewriting any difficult personal situation to make herself the victim and the other person the bad guy over and over again.

I'd rather be honestly dishonest.

05-20-2011, 10:55 AM
Today I got my contract for my PhD grant. It comes from the institute itself and is about 1000 Euro a month. It was agreed to do it for 6 months, until November, so I have time to get a scholarship. The contract, however, stated a whole year. I instantly pointed this out to the secretary. Later I thought my life would have been easier if this little mistake would have gone by. But the honest pointing out came like a reflex, the secretary even told me that I am being honest >< Curse you, mom, for raising me right!

05-31-2011, 11:31 PM
I encountered one today. At work, the credit card machine went out. Now, there are a few ways of fixing it, but they all take a few minutes, and the woman waiting to pay didn't have cash, so I asked if she'd mind waiting for a couple minutes despite wanting to leave. She agreed, and I went about the basic "turn off/unplug/blow in port/restart" quick fixes, none of which worked. I then told her that her business was more important than the sale and she could take her sandwich and leave, since it was our fault. She refused, saying she would just head to the ATM down the street. I insisted that it was no trouble. She left, got cash, and returned. I was in shock. Why the hell would someone not only insist on paying, but go to extra trouble to do so when it was our fault and I told her to just go? This does not compute.

06-01-2011, 05:44 PM
I love it when people do the right thing.

It's what makes us nicer than scum.