What would you do?
Yesterday I took both girls to Target to get their babysitter a gift card for her birthday. When we pulled up, I noticed the car parked next to my chosen spot, a battered sedan in need of a paint job, at least. A young couple was getting out of the car and I waited as the tiny woman, stooped with exhaustion either recent or lifelong, and the young man, hat down low, tattoos crawling up his neck, laboriously removed a car-seat with a tiny baby inside. I parked next to them and sympathetically remembered when my babies were that little.
We got the gift card, as well as a few other items that I suddenly couldn't live without once I entered the magical land of Target. We saw the young couple again, in the diaper aisle, and the man played a brief game of peek-a-boo with E, his smile appearing like a Cheshire grin above his tattoos and below his hat.
As we were leaving, I saw a crumpled dollar bill on the floor between the two sets of automatic doors. Z saw it too and picked it up: "Mommy do I have to leave this here for the person who dropped it or can I keep it?"
I glanced around, not seeing anyone who would have obviously just dropped it, and made a quick moral decision. "You can keep it, Z. I'm pretty sure we can't figure out who dropped it, so it's your lucky day."
As she pranced back to the car, I noticed another bill on the ground, this one in the parking lot, right in the middle of a lane of traffic. It was folded crisply into fourths and I picked it up quickly to get out of the way.
Then I glanced down at it.
It was a $50 bill.
Z started exclaiming about how lucky we were and I spun around looking for someone, anyone who might have dropped it. There were no other pedestrians close by in the parking lot.
I immediately thought of the young parents we saw earlier. I should stick the bill under their windshield wipers.
No, someone might come along and steal it before they could get it.
I could go back into the store, find them and give it to them.
No, what if the person who dropped it saw them spend it and thought they stole it?
I could turn it in to the customer service desk and hope that it would find its way back to the person who dropped it.
No, the teenagers who worked there would probably pocket it.
I could donate the money to our county food bank or the local domestic violence shelter or the relief efforts in Japan.
I could think of it as my lucky day and spend it on a treat for our family or put it in my wallet and spend it as I would any other money. Is it any different to keep this $50 bill than the $1 bill?
The girls were getting antsy, so I drove them home.
I did nothing.
I still have the $50 bill.
What would you do??