Have you ever found yourself in a position where you had to do the right thing when nobody’s looking? I found myself in such a position this week as I found a man’s wallet outside of the grocery store. As I walked towards the wallet and looked down, I could see that it had a $20 bill sticking out. I picked it up as I looked around to see if anyone was frantically looking for this lost item. As I opened up the wallet, I could see that it was filled with $100 bills, $50 bills and $20 bills. I walked inside the store with my heart palpitating and just a keen gaze at everyone that I looked at to make sure they weren’t looking for this lost item that I had found. I found a card with some gentleman’s name and picture on it and I scoured everyone’s face to see if it matched a picture in the wallet but no such luck. In an instant so many thoughts ran through my head:

  1. Should I take the money and throwaway the wallet?
  2. Should I put the wallet in my purse and walk back out the store?
  3. Should I take the wallet home?
  4. Should I go to the bank and deposit the money and throw away the wallet?

With all those thoughts running through my brain the only one that over rode them all was: “Do the right thing when no one’s looking Fatima.”  Immediately after that I thought: “Was this a test from the universe and God?”  The answer I got after my head spun around a couple of times was you don’t want to call bad karma on yourself so do the right thing. To tell you the honest truth, the money in the wallet would have paid a lot of bills, bought a lot of food, and helped a lot. But who I am is honesty, hope and integrity when nobody’s looking. So, I gave the wallet to an employee in hopes that man was still inside the store. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my family about my adventure at the store!  They all automatically thought that the right thing to do was to return the wallet to the owner because he might need the money to pay bills, go on a trip or it might have been owed to someone else. I felt good that I raised my children to be honest citizens.

The next day I did go back to the store and asked if the gentleman came back looking for his wallet. Supervisor told me he called and was going to pick it up later in the day.  She asked me if I wanted to leave a business card just in case he wanted to reach out to me, so I did. I felt so good to know that I did the right thing and that I followed up to make sure the gentleman would get his wallet back. The supervisor and I both said that if we lost our wallets with that amount of money, we would cry and hope that the person who found it would return it.

I must say this was not the first time I found money.  In the past I also returned it to the owner. Sometimes we get the feeling that honesty and doing the right thing can be negotiated, especially now with the 24 hour news cycle that focuses only on bad and sensational news stories.  Yet remember that good things happen more often than we think. My question to you is what would you have done?

With Love,

Fatima Gould