26 October 2011

What Would You Do?

...if you found $150,000?

I love news stories. While I don't feel qualified to make comments on most of them (for example, I know very little about Libya other than the basics the news tells us) and others don't mean much to me (I may find them very important in spite of this) some of them really incite strong reactions in me.

This is an example of one.

I'm torn between two really conflicting feelings:  anger and hope. I had not heard about this story in the past (probably because it happened during summer, when I am on my computer the least) and so I was completely new to all of the information.

To summarize (VERY succintly):  an unemployed carpenter named Wayne Sabaj found a duffel bag with $150,000 in it. And he turned it in to the police (if he had kept it, he would have gotten some much-needed dental work done). And people criticized him for this (not just thinking he was stupid but outright criticizing). At the same time, a wonderful man named Dr. Xhelo Shuaipaj heard his story and offered to do all of his dental work for free (Mr. Sabaj is getting fitted for dentures, which he should have by November). (As a side note, the money is still not claimed and, if it remains unclaimed, Mr. Sabaj will get to keep it.)

So here we have two models for our youth. One model of two men who are doing the right things by turning in found money and helping someone in need and the other model of people encouraging deceit.

As a culture (especially those in their 20s and below) we have a distinct lack of a moral consensus, and people wonder why. There is also (as always) the fear that those in the "next generation" (it always seems to be the 'next' generation) are becoming criminals and psychopaths. When half of the models we see are of people encouraging people to lie and cheat, is it any wonder?

Now, I know that's not quite how it works. I know that we have all sorts of models other than these, I know that I'm probably overreacting (I get emotional sometimes, okay?!), and I know that there are mitigating circumstances and that these are a few, not the many. I'm just so disgusted over the actions of these few.

On the other hand, we have this model of hope. We have a man who really, really could use the money but decided to do the right thing and we have a man who decides to "pay it forward" and help someone. We don't hear about these stories enough, I think (I know they happen, we just don't hear of them). But it does give me hope to think that there are people who are willing to show kindness in spite of criticism.

What do you think?  Do you think he should have kept the money? Do you think you would have? What about Dr. Shuaipaj, did he do the right thing or should he have kept to himself?
I want to hear other opinions on this!

1 comment:

  1. THAT GUYS SUCH A IDIoT!!! jk, jk

    It is interesting to hear that this incident came into public media in the way that it did. Getting criticized for doing something morally *right*? I partly wonder if these people are saying negative things because "being good" is too mainstream. Honestly, it seems like people are naive enough that I wouldn't put it past them...

    I've thought about the concept of generations too. We always seem to focus on how bad the future will be yet we as a collective support immoral or morally ambiguous actions. I don't get it none, that's fer sure.

    I like to hope that I would have acted as these two people did. I'm really proud of doctor Shuaipaj. His support of Mr. Sabaj shows that one CAN do something right and still be rewarded for it.

    Thanks for the story, now to decide between anger and hope myself...


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