Yesterday in Psych class, this moral dilemma was posed to the class:
"You see a $100 bill lying on the ground in the school parking lot. A car had just left that space but you did not see the driver drop it. You do not know to whom this money belongs. What would you do?"
One guy said he would use it for gas money. Another said that he would use it for gaming. Lots of suggestions were shouted out with their reasoning. "It's a blessing from God." "I need it more." "Finders keepers."
Not one person said they would try to locate the owner or at least take it to the Student Services office.
My integrity is worth more than any money. I knew without question what I would do. But I didn't speak out. I was afraid that the professor would try to psychoanalyze me and I didn't want the debate. It seemed as if I was the only one in the room who saw this in black and white.
Even my professor said he would keep the money. He often presents his lectures as if he were doing stand up comedy so I wasn't sure if this comment was serious.
The lecture went on. One guy told of his mom trying to support her family on a waitressing paycheck. She would skim the till whenever she got the chance and told him that the restaurant would never miss it - besides they needed it more. When the professor asked if that made it right, the guy answered "Absolutely. It kept us from starving." Others also talked about lack of morals as if it were the norm. Have I been so out of the loop that I didn't realize that many people were like this? Were they just showing off for the class? Do people really think that there are no boundaries to accountability? Is being virtuous and honorable considered puritanical?
That night I told Mr. Wonderful what happened. I said that I wished I could go back to that moment and say what I thought. Mr. Wonderful pointed out to me that I should never fear when truth is on my side. When I berated myself for missing the moment, he commented that there would be more chances.
Unfortunately he is right. I believe my Psych class is missing their moral compass. Other subjects will come up where I will have the opportunity to speak out. I'm hoping that I am not the only one.