So last week I was on the bus going to visit my girlfriend. I was feeling rather stressed about money and was just in a bad mood in general. It wasn’t the worse, but I definitely could have been better. As I got on the last bus, I was about to go sit at my usual seat since it was open– at least until I noticed what appeared to be a small rectangular card at another seat. A quick survey of the bus told me that no one else noticed it, and there was no one in the vicinity that it seemed like it could belong to. Since the bus had already pulled off and I didn’t pay attention to whoever had gotten off, I had no idea if someone just dropped it, or if it had been sitting there forever. I decided to go ahead and sit by the card. I headed toward my seat, sat down, and swiftly pocketed the card as I got my wallet to put my bus card back inside. No one had noticed, but of course my hand felt hot. My pocket felt hot. I had no idea whether or not this was a bus card, credit card, debit card or what. All I know is that I had noticed it and no one else had.
The ride to my girlfriend’s house was a short one, but thoughts were spinning in my head. I was wondering if anyone had noticed me take it and if they thought I was a thief. I felt like one. I took the card simply so that no one else could. At that point, I didn’t have any intentions except to examine the card. When I finally got off the bus, I waited for it to pass before looking at the card. I saw that it was a chase debit card. I looked at the name, looked at the back, and saw that it was signed and everything. I crossed the street, rang the doorbell, and showed my girlfriend what I found. She thought it was crazy, but ultimately, it was clear that whatever I proceeded to do with the card was my ultimately my decision alone.
Immediately, the negativity and malice clouded my mind. There are places that don’t require pins or signatures. I wonder if I could find out how much is on here. I wonder if I could get a rewarded for turning it in.* Immediately, I felt sick to my stomach. I know I’m human, but why in the world would these thoughts even cross my mind? I suppose I could argue that I was tight on money, so it was only “natural.” Personal gain is always the reason people do a lot of things, but there are a lot of things that I didn’t do because it was wrong, no matter how much I could have benefited from it.
After my bout of viciously malice thoughts, I began got on my laptop. I began to try and search for the card owner online. I found what I believed to be the person, but I only had an address and age estimate. I, for the life of me, could not find a number that I could contact. Eventually, I gave up and decided to worry about it later. I spent the day with my girlfriend and the card was out of my mind until I we said our goodbyes and I headed home.
It wasn’t long before I thought about the card again. Even though I really wanted to return the card to it’s owner (and this time simply to see their reaction, not in hopes of a reward), I decided that it’d be best to call the bank. I called, and went through the motions and was told that they would deactivate the card and that they would make a note in the person’s account so that they know someone found the card and made sure it didn’t get into the wrong hands. I was told to go ahead and destroy the card. Before getting on the bus, I folded the card up and tossed it in the trash. I got to tell you, I felt wonderful.
I’ve had money and things stolen from me before, and it is not pleasant. People work hard for the things that they have, so it isn’t right to take them. I know I would have been devastated if someone had found my debit card and drained my bank account. The gain for doing the right thing was a good feeling and good karma for the universe. That’s all you ever really need. Even if it seems pointless, you should always go ahead and do the right thing. It might not always benefit you, nor will everyone always see the results. However, every good decision you choose always makes the world just a little bit better.
*I personally think that one shouldn’t do the obvious right things only for the incentive and no other reason.