Red tennis shoes

Finders Keepers, but what’s the limit?

As I walked home a few days ago, I spied a shiny object on the sidewalk. Intrigued but skeptical, I slowed my pace. The sunlight was definitely reflecting off something metallic, but what?

I knew the odds favored a piece of rubbish, maybe a gum wrapper, nail, or piece of aluminum foil. However, I couldn’t resist a closer look. I poked it with the tip my shoe.

It was a quarter!

My inner six-year-old squealed, finders keepers, losers weepers. However, I hesitated. Was the person who lost it nearby?  I glanced over my shoulder. Relived to be the only pedestrian in the area, I retrieved my treasure, and went on my way.

I may be incorrect, but I believe most people would do the same. I guess I could have left it on the ground. Some people might retrace their steps to recover twenty-five cents. (However unlikely that seems.) I recall several news stories about people who’d gone to extremes to return cash, jewelry, or wallets to their rightful owners. Still, wouldn’t it be lunacy to search for the owner of a coin? What would I put on the posters?

If I witnessed someone drop a coin, I’d never consider keeping it. I’d retrieve and return. If I found a glove, a pair of sunglasses, or a cell phone, I’d turn it into the appropriate lost and found. (I would hope someone would do the same for me.)  Technically the quarter didn’t belong to me, but I kept it anyway. So, I wondered, where would I draw the line?

I think if I found a LARGE amount of cash, I’d be too concerned to keep it. What if it belonged to a criminal? If someone noticed I’d found it, I might be in danger. Isn’t that a common movie plot?  I’m sure I’d turn a briefcase, brown bag, or large wad of cash into the authorities. If it doesn’t belong to me, I don’t want it. (Gosh, I hope this quarter wasn’t someone’s lucky coin!)

However, that doesn’t answer my dilemma. What amount of found money is okay to pocket…a quarter, a one dollar bill, a twenty? Where do you draw the line?  Share in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Finders Keepers, but what’s the limit?”

  1. One of my previous authors wrote a hilarious book with this premise. Look for Eco-Sisters: The Car, by P. Ryan Hembree. She was supposed to re-release it, but I’m not sure she did. It was HILARIOUS.
    It is hard to know what I’d do. I know that I’ve left money on the ground if I thought someone might come back…and I’ve picked up some, too. It is such a challenge! I’ve turned things into lost and found, and then sometimes when there wasn’t a lost and found I didn’t.
    A friend told me a story recently of finding a really lovely shirt on a branch at a campground. Thinking someone would come back for it, he left it there. A week went by. Two. This campground was frequented by people who came in at a distance and only ever stayed a week at a time. Finally, he took the shirt. Washed it, and it has become one of his favorites. The owner had left it, left the area, and would have been impossible to find. At that point…it’s preventing waste, right?

    1. Thanks for the book suggestion! I will look for it. I LOVE the shirt story. I always feel a little sad when I see a glove or hat on the ground-maybe we should tag them with microchips!

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