Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Moral Dilemma


The weirdest thing happened to me today and it left me facing somewhat of a moral dilemma.

I was in Boston at a very crowded CVS drug store where I noticed an ATM machine off to the side of the registers. I walked over to the machine and inserted my card and proceeded to make a withdrawal when I glanced down and noticed a $20 bill sitting in the cash dispenser of the machine. Since my withdrawal was not yet complete, I knew the $20 was not mine. I looked around the crowded drug store to see if anyone was waiting to stake claim to the money, but no one was near the machine I was using. No one was even looking in my direction so I finished my withdrawal, took my money and the additional $20 and stood off to the side to ponder my options. They were:

  1. Wait a few minutes to see if the $20 bill's owner would return to claim it after realizing it was gone.

  2. Give the money to CVS management so that they could return it to the owner IF they came back to claim it.

  3. Pocket the $20 and walk away.

I thought about whether or not karma was testing me (I am a big believer in karma) or that it was just plain luck. I thought about my kids and what I would have done if it had happened to one of them and not me. Whatever the reason, I was faced with making this decision.

What do you think I did?

10 comments:

Dr Zibbs said...

I would have waited a few minutes to see if anyone came back.

LYDIA said...

I would have waited a few minutes too - and if no one showed up, I would have just taken it. I am sure CVS would have done the same thing had you given the money to them. As you can see, I am destined for hell.

Mike DiSarro said...

well i think you did the right thing which would have been to take the money and run.... who goes to an ATM withdraws 20$ and forgets it...

Candy's daily Dandy said...

yes my little chickadee's. I did just that! (it paid for my parking) but I didn't feel too great about it at first. After I waited for a good 7 or 8 minutes I figured the manager at CVS would do the same thing. Stuff like this never happens to me. Please dont tell my kids.

LegalMist said...

I think you did the right thing. It was nice of you to wait around for a few minutes, just to be sure. But if no one came back for it soon, then they probably never came back for it. Think about it. If you realized, 6 hours later (or even 1 hour later) that you had left $20 on the ATM, would you ever think, in a million years, that it would still be there? Of course not. You'd write it off to stupidity and thank the karmic beings for giving that $20 to someone who needed it more than you did. (I mean really, if you don't notice pretty much immediately that you left $20 at the ATM, you must not need it very much!!).
My husband once found a $100 bill in a bar parking lot at 6 a.m. while he was out for an early morning bike ride. Talk about great luck! I personally have never found more than $10.

minddiarrhea said...

I would have also waited, then kept it.

greeneyesmcl said...

You're all too kind. I would have waited a minute and then taken off. People need to be more responsbile for themselves. It's not like there was the option of the money or a piece of toast coming out of the slot. You're there for cash, duh, how could you forget to take it? Finders keepers...

MelO said...

Seriously? I DEFINITELY would NOT give it to the CVS management, that's for sure! I'm with pretty much everyone else... wait a few then take it.

I am such a FREAK about double checking to make sure the ATM doesn't 'scam' me that I really feel it's pretty careless of the person who didn't notice they left it. Apparently the $20 didn't mean that much to them, whereas, every PENNY counts with my broke ass :)

Fancy Schmancy said...

At least you waited. If you had given it to a manager, how would the person who left it there really identify that it was their's? Finders, keepers!

nycgal said...

Basically, you did the right thing, Can. I mean besides feeling a bit guilty about taking the money, you were left with no other options.