Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Found Money

Yesterday I was walking back to work after lunch when I cut in front of a bus stop on the sidewalk.  There, lying on the ground in front of me was a $10 bill.

My first thought was that it was just a buck, but when I noticed it was a ten, the calculations running through my mind changed abruptly.  $10 is a rare find.

At the same time I noticed the money, I noticed the lone occupant of the bus stop.  He was an older guy who was sitting on the bench with a luggage cart full of stuff in front of him.  I didn't get much more info than that in my quick glance so I don't really know if he was homeless, traveling, or had just been shopping.  But I did see that the cart was blocking the $10 from his line of sight.

Had the guy not been there, there would have been no internal debate.  I would have picked up the bill and continued on, $10 richer.  But the guy changed the calculation again.  If it was his $10, then there might be a confrontation.  Or, it could be embarrassing if he saw what I was doing.  Maybe it was a prank to see if someone would go for the money.  (Yes, I am a bit paranoid.)  Suddenly, a witness or potential competitor made the whole enterprise more uncertain.

In an instant, the decision was made and I walked on without taking the money.  I decided that I'm pretty fortunate in life and could live without the $10.  The odds were pretty good that someone less fortunate than me would find it and it would mean more to them than it would have to me.

At least I hope so.


Anonymous said...

Why didn't you pick it up and give it to the guy sitting there? You know a gust of wind blew it in a storm gutter don't you. That guy could have used it.

Eric Haas said...

I’ll bet that’s the one I lost! Did it have a picture of Alexander Hamilton on it?