Sunday, October 27, 2013
Readers: It's time to share
Last December, professional baseball player Shane Victorino signed a three-year, $39 million contract to play right field for the Boston Red Sox.
After the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division series in early October, Victorino returned on the team's charter plane to Boston. But, according to Shira Springer, a sportswriter for The Boston Globe, Victorino left his wallet that contained his license, credit card and cash on the plane. Once the Red Sox departed in Boston, the charter plane continued on to Paris.
Victorino told Springer that it was clearly his own fault for leaving the wallet behind.
But fortunately, whoever found the wallet in Paris turned it in. The wallet was to be shipped back to Victorino, its rightful owner.
Springer reports that when Victorino, who would go on to hit a bases-loaded home run to help the Red Sox clinch the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, was asked if he was surprised that the wallet was turned in with all of its contents intact, he responded: "There's honest, trustworthy people in this world."
Victorino's response is heartening.
In an age when sports memorabilia can sell for sizeable figures, it might have been tempting for the person who found Victorino's wallet to turn it into cash, although it would be hard to imagine that such an act wouldn't raise suspicion that someone was trying to sell something that wasn't rightfully theirs. The wallet finder might also have decided to hold onto the wallet in hopes that it would make an attractive addition to, or start of, a sports memorabilia collection.
Instead, he or she did the right thing by turning in the ballplayer's wallet and seeing to it that it was returned.
Reading of Victorino's experience reminded me of the challenges each of us regularly face to do the right thing. Each of us made decisions about how to respond to a situation that in retrospect make us proud or a bit ashamed.
I regularly share such stories in my column, but now it's your turn to tell me your story. What defining moment in your life are you most proud of how you responded? Or, what response to an ethical choice have you made that you wish you could do over? If you've had an experience with someone like Victorino's wallet finder and returner, tell me that too.
Several years ago, when I asked readers to share their stories, I received dozens of moving stories about their personal experiences when faced with ethical choices. So I'm asking you to share your stories again. Provide as much detail about any struggle you might have faced in making your decision, but please limit your responses to no longer than 300 words. Include your name, city, state, and phone number and send me your story by Nov. 15 to email@example.com.
I will try to use the most compelling of your stories in an upcoming column. I'm hopeful that Victorino is right about there being "honest, trustworthy people in this world." I'm hopeful that some of your stories will showcase just how true his observation is.
Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is a lecturer in public policy and director of the communications program at Harvard's Kennedy School.
Follow him on Twitter: @jseglin