A while back, I created a category called “Doing the Right Thing“, for those people who have done the Right Thing is spite of risks to their employment, safety, or personal well being in whatever sense.
Today I saw a story on Yahoo! News of someone that exemplifies the idea of Doing the Right Thing because it was the Right Thing.
When Josh Ferrin closed on his family’s first home, he never thought he’d make the discovery of a lifetime — then give it back.
Ferrin picked up the keys earlier this week and decided to check out the house in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bountiful. He was excited to finally have a place his family could call their own.
As he walked into the garage, a piece of cloth that clung to an attic door caught his eye. He opened the hatch and climbed up the ladder, then pulled out a metal box that looked like a World War II ammunition case.
“I freaked out, locked it my car, and called my wife to tell her she wouldn’t believe what I had found,” said Ferrin, who works as an artist for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.
Then he found seven more boxes, all stuffed full with tightly wound rolls of cash bundled together with twine — more than $40,000.
It would have been incredibly tempting to keep that much money.
“I’m not perfect, and I wish I could say there was never any doubt in my mind. We knew we had to give it back, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t think about our car in need of repairs, how we would love to adopt a child and aren’t able to do that right now, or fix up our outdated house that we just bought,” Ferrin said. “But the money wasn’t ours to keep and I don’t believe you get a chance very often to do something radically honest, to do something ridiculously awesome for someone else and that is a lesson I hope to teach to my children.” [emphasis mine]
It’s one of the simplest concepts there is – “It’s not mine, so I won’t take it.” – yet so many seem to be unable to grasp it. So he called up the family of the previous owner, and gave it back to them. Because it was the Right Thing to do.
Somebody go see where Diogenes is hiding. I think we’ve found his honest man.
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[Source: Yahoo! News article, retrieved 5/20/11]