The other day I was walking on the side of a road that doesn’t get much foot traffic and found someone’s credit card laying there. My first though was, “I wonder how long this has been lost.” My second thought was, “I wonder if they have deactivated it yet.” Which lead to my third thought of, “I should call Discover and make sure that I’ve been reported as lost.” And finally, “I wish it had been a roll of untraceable cash instead.” – but if it had been a roll of cash I would have felt like I needed to look around for the hidden camera, assuming that I was being studied to see if I would turn it in to the police or something so that they could then show a video of me all over the internet labeled “New study shows that Americans are dishonest and unethical and this guy proves it!” And if I had seen that video I would have spent the next year paranoid that someone that could recognize me saw it because I look like an idiot searching through the bushes looking for a hidden camera.
But since it wasn’t a roll of cash being watched by hidden cameras – at least I assume that there weren’t any, I called Discover and told them the situation as I walked. I informed than that I wanted to make sure that it was deactivated and that I was going to destroy it for the owner. They then told me that it was now shut down and that they would inform the card’s owner that it was found and disabled.
While I walked along, tearing this card up, I got to thinking about it a bit more. Don’t think that I wasn’t tempted by the prospect of having access to someone else’s card that might still be active, I definitely was. I thought about what would have happened if I had tried to use it and it actually worked, or how embarrassing and bad it would have been if it hadn’t. I thought about how I deserved a reward for doing the right thing and that karma was now on my side. Then I started pondering all of the great things that could be coming my way from karma.
That lead me to thinking about how Karma better pay up when I went to pick up my car from the mechanic who was replacing a tie rod, both front bearing, and a few other smaller things (I had just dropped it off which is why I was walking on the side of a road that doesn’t get much foot traffic). I decided that I did the right thing and now I deserved to have the mechanic inform me that everything went great and they were able to use some parts that they had laying around that were in great condition but needed to be used so my bill was only going to be a few dollars. Then I had to stop walking for a few seconds while I was hit with the realization that this card that I was in the process of breaking in half might have been the (unethical) answer for paying the mechanic – then I felt like an idiot and a little sick for not having thought about that earlier – than I felt a little sick for having thought of it at all and thinking it might actually be worth a try.
All this to say that last week I had a bit on an epiphany and perspective check about integrity and wanted to pass on the realization that we don’t always get rewarded for doing the right thing, sometimes the consequences even suck, but we shouldn’t need a reward to be good people. Feeling like you’re a good person should be enough of a reward in and of itself.
PS – As a follow-up the mechanic bill was $782 and would have been another $415 if I had them fix the display so I can see my mileage again. Plus, I have to take it back in this weekend because all of the blinkers stopped blinking on the drive home – it seems like I ended up with anti-karma instead.