"Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching" -- C.S. Lewis
The school I work for has 8 core values: Appreciation, Respect, Integrity, Giving, Responsibility, Friendship, Compassion/Empathy, and the Golden Rule. October is the month of Integrity. As a school counselor, part of my job is to help students explore these concepts in our guidance lessons and how they apply to real life. Integrity can be a tough one because it is not black and white. Integrity deals with the core of who a person is on the inside - the moral compass that helps you determine what is right and wrong. Normally, in my guidance lessons and conversations with the students they can talk about how to model all of these values, they know how to respond on paper and when given the time to "chew" on an idea. However, one can never really know how well people know how to apply these values, until you experience these ethical dilemmas in real life.
Tonight, for about an hour of sheer panic, I thought my wallet was missing/stolen.
I was all set to meet up with a good friend in town w/ her friends/cousins visiting from Brooklyn and Miami, respectively. I have not seen her in 4 years - basically since I left New York. So I was quite excited to meet up. I left my house around 7:40, took the songthaew (mini-bus) up to the BTS and quickly discovered when I looked in purse that my wallet was not there. I backtracked to the songthaew, but I mistakenly assumed that the driver did not understand my query if he'd seen my wallet. The songthaew was full so I could not see if it was on - or under - one of the benches. I then thought I'd left it on the dining room table so decided to grab a motorbike taxi home. I msg'ed my friend's cousin and explained the whole ordeal. I got all the way home and realized it was not there either.
In a panic, I cancelled dinner and proceeded to log onto my accounts to try and cancel them when suddenly I get this SMS on my phone from one of my principals:
Your wallet was found by someone next to 7-eleven, they found the emergency card in it.
Please call back, they are waiting: <Good Samaritan's number>
When I met up with her at the 7-11 near my house she explained that the driver DID find the wallet after I'd asked him about it and asked her to try to figure out who it belonged to since it was very clearly a farang's (foreigner's). She asked me to check the wallet and everything was in there. I offered her 100 baht for her troubles and she vehemently shook her head and said "No. This was no trouble at all." I profusely wai to her (prayer hands w/ bowed head) and said "Khob khun na kha" = "Thank you VERY much" several times. Then I was able to enjoy a great catch up w/ my friend Sandrinne.
The driver and this woman could have easily taken this wallet for their own use. Instead, they chose to do the right thing because it's simply what you should do. Good karma and integrity, definitely. I was able to enjoy dinner as pictured below!