If you’ve ever found something valuable then you’ve almost definitely experienced that internal conflict which occurs. The toss up between whether to keep the item or return it to its rightful owner.
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As a kid my mum was forever telling me that my Grandad found a bag of money – literally thousands – and that he took it into a local police station. I won’t bore you with the ins and outs but the story ends with the police officers laughing in my Grandad’s face for handing in the small fortune. I’m not sure what moral lesson my mum was trying to teach me with this story, I suspect it was something along the lines of ‘do the right thing no matter what the consequences may be’ or something equally as mundane. But what I took from it was – if you find money, keep it. Otherwise the police will laugh at you.
I’ve never been fortunate enough to find a substantial amount of money in order to test this life lesson, but I know that if I do ever happen upon some cash, I won’t be rushing to hand it over. Call me an asshole if you like, but to paraphrase Yeezy:
If I fuck this bag of money,
And it just bleached its asshole,
And I get bleach on my T-shirt,
I’mma feel like an asshole.
I guess I’m an asshole then, but I’ll be a richer asshole for it.
One guy from New York found himself in a similar situation recently when he found somebody’s wallet at a concert. The unlucky wallet-loser was 28 year old Reilly Flaherty. He was attending the concert in Brooklyn. In his wallet at the time was his ID, along with all of his cash and his important cards.
Once he realised what had happened, he did the logical thing and set about cancelling his cards – thinking that was the last he’d ever see of the wallet.
However, two weeks later he received an envelope in the post which contained his ID and his credit cards. Also included inside was a note from the stranger who found his wallet:
I found your wallet, and your drivers license had your address so here’s your credit cards and other important stuff. I kept the cash because I needed weed, the MetroCard because, well, the fare’s $2.75 now, and the wallet ’cause it’s kinda cool. Enjoy the rest of your day. Toodles, Anonymous.
The money is bad enough, but if you’re an asshole (like me), you can probably justify that as a samaritans reward for doing a good deed. And to be fair, public transport is expensive and ‘every man for himself’ tends to be a common attitude when using it. But stealing the wallet itself? Well that’s just a whole other league of sheer ballsiness.
Reilly spoke about his first thoughts when reading the note:
To be honest, I was thinking this person was the Walter White of wallet returning.
They start out with seemingly good intentions, but then you quickly realize they’re actually just a villain plagued with an insatiable appetite for MetroCard spending and marijuana-infused subway rides.
Sadly, this is the plot of Breaking Bad all over again, but instead of meth and illegal firearms, we’re dealing in stolen MetroCards and vintage leather goods.
If I could say one thing to this altruistic stranger, I would tell them, “It’s not your fault. It is not your fault.”
Well at least he took it in good spirits. I hope whoever I rob that bag of money off in the future is as understanding as this dude.
It clearly pays to smile in situations like this as well. The Kings Theatre, the venue of the gig that Reilly lost his wallet at, heard how the story turned out. They took pity on Reilly and offered him free tickets to an upcoming show. All’s well that ends well then. Especially for the guy that just got a new wallet and high as a kite in the same afternoon.
It’s pretty crazy to think this anonymous guy essentially robbed Reilly and completely got away with it. This would-be thief wasn’t quite as lucky.