Thursday, May 01, 2008

Money, Money, Money, Money, MONEY!

the CRAZIEST thing ever happened to me last night as I was walking home from parking my car. As I was walking up the street, a cab came rolling around the corner and as it drove away it appeared that a ton of papers comes flying out. i walked up to see what it was, and it wasn't papers IT WAS MONEY!!! lots of ones and fives all over the street!

I picked it up in this huge bulge and waited for the taxi to come back, but it didn't and I waited some more and then walked up the street and it still didn't come back. A nurse walking to the night shift at the local nursing home asked if I was okay, since apparently I looked as if I were in a total state of shock and I relayed the story. She said she felt bad for the driver, but what an idiot to have left his tips by the window and that I should just go home and not stand on the street with a butt load of cash in my hands.So I shoved it in my pocket (hardly fit) and walked home. I dumped it on Sarah's bed, told her the story, we counted it up and its $80! She was on the phone to her friend Kira who is putting bets that it was one of those 48 hour specials where they tape the 'what would you do' scenario

I don't know what to do. I called the 5 cab companies in the brookline area, left my name and number and said if any driver comes in talking about losing money, they are able to identify the amount and in the area they lost it I am happy to return.

i have been asking folks for their suggestions as to what I should do. Here have been some of the responses:

Friend One:
"I think I say keep some and donate some...maybe there is a way to donate it to people who need taxi rides who might not be able to afford it..."

Friend Two: "Just give it a few days, call every day, and even call out of Brookline. Call Newton, Cambridge, Allston, and Brighton as well. But call every day for a week and if by then no one shows up- give it to tzedakah. Alternatively, take it to the police because then it is out of your hands and you are no longer responsible....But I wouldn't keep it, Shirah. That's tainted money and not really rightfully yours. If it were $5 but this is a lot of money. Probably not what you wanted to hear but that's how I feel."

Friend Three: " Funny enough, I'm remembering some Jewish moral about just this scenario. It says that one is supposed to keep all of the money because tzedakah requires intention. Finding money that one then gives away lacks intention. Do what you will with that. I think that you've taken enough action to try to get the $ back, that you should feel just fine in keeping it... or giving it away... I think it's entirely up to you at this point. I like the 10% for tzedakah idea and keeping the rest. Or if you're really crazy, pay it forward. Just walk into the street, throw it up in the air and walk away (or stick around to watch what happens)"

Friend Four: " i wouldn't worry about ensuring that you call every possible place nor that you call every day. i would just make a call to these other companies to leave your info. and then wait a week - f/u with them to double check and if you don't hear anything, i think the tzedakah option is a really nice idea :)"

Friend Five: my opinion is that you can keep the money. it is certainly not "tainted" - people lose things all the time and you found it totally innocently. here is why i think you can keep it.

1) the owner has likely despaired of getting it back, which means that you aren't really obliged to return it.

2) in "lifnim mishurat hadin" terms it would be good to return it, but you have already revealed the administrative difficulty of carrying out the task (you could still keep trying according to Marni's suggestions, but remember it could also be a cab customer's money, further decreasing the likelihood the owner expects to find it/you will find the owner).

3) money is fungible, that is, it's not a unique object and if the owner is somehow identified you can pay them with another set of bills that equal $80 at no loss to them (money's fungible nature also plays into the fact the owner does like likely expect to get it back)

Friend Six: " i think you are all crazy--- go out, get a stripper. a few bottles of champange and have yourself a wild and crazy night! Just kidding...yeah, donate it I guess and take your self out to a really good dinner and movie.

Friend Seven: "I think its hard to say what I would do because I am not the one right now with the 80 bucks but we can totally talk about it tonight over a few beers and nachos... your treat right???? what if you would have walked by 3 minutes later after the cab had passed and the money was left on the street..... just like finding some money on the street.... what would you do? would you have the same dilema???"

Brother One: "The most noble thing to do would be to give it back to the stripper community. Perhaps use it on a Happy Hour at your local club."

Boyfriend One: " If noone calls back in 24 hours go spend it! OR you can make a charitable contribution to "Brookline Dermatology Associates"--we accept payment in 1's, 5's, 10's, or whatever denomination you'd like!"

What do you think??