The Essence of Integrity

Do you ever find  yourself in situations  where you find yourself compelled to do the right thing even when you know nobody’s looking. I found myself in just such a situation sometime ago. I came upon a   wallet; open, faced down with bills sticking out, lying on the ground outside the grocery store. So I picked it up quickly looking around to see if anyone was freaking out. As far as I could tell no one was. As I opened it up  a stack of $100 ‘s fell out. I stuffed everything back in the wallet and walked back inside the store still checking out the people around me to make sure they weren’t looking at me sideways wondering why the black chick’s flipping through a wallet that looks a lot like theirs. I found ID  with a guys face on it and I scoured the crowd looking for a match but no such luck… And that’s when they started. The voices in my head: “Keep the cash, toss the wallet”… “Quick! Drop that sucker in your purse and let’s get the @#*! outta here!…” Can you blame me? It’s not my fault he dropped his wallet.  Listen! Life ain’t  cheap and while  I’m sorry, I’ve still got  bills to pay… and shoes to buy, lol….”  It didn’t matter anyways because as always  a smaller, but very persuasive single voice quickly followed  with “Don’t do it, karma’s a bitch,”… “that’s a lot of money, there’s no way it isn’t  important someone.” and “Don’t be an prick”. So I listened for a second and then I did what I always do: right thing, or what I think is the ‘right thing’. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. The money would have been nice,  I really did have bills to pay but who I strive to be is honesty, hope, and integrity even when there is temptation. 

So, I gave the wallet to an employee  hoping the guy was still inside the store so I could give it to him personally and give him an opportunity to do something nice  for my trouble. He wasn’t. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my family about my adventure! They all thought that the right thing to do was to return the wallet and I felt good knowing that I raised a pair of honest citizens.

The next day I went back to the store and asked if the gentleman came back looking for his wallet. The supervisor told me that the guy called and was going to pick it up later in the day.  She asked me if I wanted to leave a number just in case he wanted to reach out to me, so I did. 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