Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Situational ethics

Here’s an interesting dilemma. A distracted violinist loses his prized violin on public transit and makes an appeal to the public with a reward promised for its return. Man sees bag lady with a violin in her shopping cart and makes her a deal. He gives her a cheap ring and $35 for her ‘violin’. He then contacts rightful owner of violin and collects full reward of $1000.

While he certainly wasn’t guilty of any crime I cannot help feeling there is something not quite kosher about the whole transaction. My gut instinct would have been to return the violin and turn down the reward. If the violinist was insistent, I would have accepted no more than $35 and told the man to donate it to a shelter for bag ladies.

But let’s say I did accept the whole reward, I would like to think I took the time and trouble to go find the homeless woman and give her the money or donate it to a shelter for a homeless women. But that is me, and much to my family’s horror - I really am my grandfather’s daughter. But what would you do?

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