It was an experiment by a regional credit union to test the honesty of people in Atlantic Canada. Twelve wallets containing $100.00 cash, bus tickets, a debit card, receipts and contact information for the owner, were left around the four Atlantic provinces in eastern Canada. Nine of the twelve wallets were returned to the owner, a great result! This story reminded me of an experience I had with my mother years ago.
Mom never used a credit card or cheques. She paid for everything with cash or through the bank. She’d take money out of the bank to pay bills etc. at the end of every month. Besides, bank day was a social occasion!
Every summer after Dad died, I spent some time with Mom. We traveled throughout the province of Newfoundland over the years, stayed in hotels or bed and breakfasts, toured around to see the sights and visited friends and family. We each enjoyed our excursions which always ended at my home.
One year, Mom’s house and car insurance bills were due as we headed for our annual trip. She took the cash from the bank to pay her bills and some extra money for her vacation. She had about $2000.00 in her purse. We headed to pay the insurance but I had to stop at the mall first. While I shopped, Mom waited on one of the benches. She laid her purse down next to her. When I arrived back, I passed her a parcel to carry for me and when we left, she forget her purse, leaving it on the bench.
At the top of an escalator we realized Mom’s purse was back on the bench. Panic set in as we headed back down there, within five minutes. The purse was gone.
This was a huge loss for Mom who was not wealthy. She would have saved all year to pay her insurance and have a vacation. We were devastated.
“Maybe someone turned it in to Lost and Found,” I said. “We’ll check there.”
Neither of us knew where the office was so it took fifteen minutes to locate. Sure enough, a man had turned in the purse with everything in it. We had passed him on the way into the office so Mom was able to thank him and give him a small reward. There are good and honest people in this world and we were fortunate to encounter one that day.
“Mrs.,” the man said to Mom, “you shouldn’t carry so much money around in your purse.”
After that experience, Mom had a debit card. When she died, I found small amounts of cash in various places around her apartment. She never did use the card.