I have to say that I believe honesty in adults is intrinsic and no amount of reward can make a dishonest or less than honest person change. That value comes from within. So, having said that, I would add that it is nice to see someone rewarded for being honest, but not something that is necessary I believe.
How much is Honesty Worth?
|October 12, 2012||Posted by Hajra under Honesty, Wonder|
Last month, a local news which lead to a lot of discussion everywhere was this – how much or how should one reward honesty. (Read the news here)
A cab driver found that a passenger had forgot 36,000 AED (Dirhams, the local currency – about 9800 US $, over five lakh in Indian Rupees). It took him over two hours but he tried his best to track down the customer and give him back his possession. And surprise of all surprises, the customer handed him 10 AED (close to 3 US $, and 145 Indian Ruppes) as a reward of his honesty.
HOW DOES IT MAKE HIM FEEL
The taxi drive does admit that it made him feel a little bad but he doesn’t really mind. He would have returned it irrespective of the reward. And that’s what he would do if something like this happened again. And I think that is very commendable of him.
In a similar incident, a few days back a cab driver found a bag containing a laptop, some money, a watch, cheque books and a watch. He too, tracked down the passenger and returned the belongings. The passenger thanked him and the cab driver says that is enough.
HOW DO WE REWARD HONESTY
Though I would agree 10 AED is too little, I feel a simple thank you is okay most of the times. Most of the discussion surrounding the incident agree that 10 is too little but the cab driver has set a very good example. And that should be kept in mind.
HOW MUCH IS HONESTY WORTH
Maybe rewarding honesty just increases the chances of the behavior being rewarded again. It’s like praising a child because he /she told the truth. Maybe even offering the child a candy. But what do we do when adults are involved. All of us have a conscience, but being rewarded for it just strengthens it, or makes it more awakened. But does not rewarding it in kind a bad thing?
Is it always important to reward honesty or is morality the bigger picture here. And if rewarding honesty is important, then how much is honesty worth. Is it directly proportional to the amount you are being honest about? Or will any amount do.
Have you been faced with a similar situation ever – either giving or receiving end?
Have you rewarded honesty? How?
Is a thank you enough at times?
Hi Hajra, Wow, I think giving a $3 reward is worse than giving nothing at all. It's like giving a waitress a penny at a restaurant. Insulting.
I agree, honesty is its own reward. I think that feeling good about how you conduct yourself is the best reward.
well,, i lost my 5 marks in std 7... but i made my parents proud...
on a lighter note,,on the play field,, welll,, i rarely got out in first go...
so honesty counts, ya it counts, but u cant decide a worth of it... a proud feeling,, sense of joy,,, the honesty within... worthless...
Well, I think that most people should be very honest in life and of course do things out of the kindness of your heart because that's the type of person that you are. So for the guys who returned the items without expecting anything in return are living up to the types of people they are deep down inside.
As for the people who had their belonging returned to them, that's a whole other story. If I lost something valuable and someone out of the kindness of their heart returned it to me then you can darn sure bet I would reward them for it and it would be a heck of a lot more then $3 or nothing at all. My goodness, that just tells you the type of people they are.
I honestly can say if you sleep just fine at night living your life like that then so be it. Trust me, it will come back to you some day and hopefully sooner then later. ;-)
Some people acknowledge graciously, some just think it is the finder's duty to make the effort to return stuff. I am now convinced I should not worry about the "loser" and blessed is the finder for doing his/her bit. I was once waiting at the bank's ATM. Two people, busy chatting were at the machine. They were so engrossed that they left both their ATM card and the money in the machine's mouth. And walked off. So weird. My turn, next, and shocked, I picked up the money and ATM and returned it to the bank, after running around a bit in the vicinity to find these guys. I just hope they realized what happened and went and got their stuff back.
Tough to quantify gratitude, but I think it is situation specific. A thank you is mandatory, naturally. Above that, depends.
Interesting post, Hajra. By the way, I remember subscribing to your blog; wonder why I don't get email alerts. Perhaps the subscription system has changed?
I don't think I, personally, have ever encountered a situation like this. Though on occasion I have had a cashier give me too much change in error. If I notice, I always try to make it right.
Hajra - Yes, a proper reward will of course repeat the behavior and it is very similar to how we tip a waiter at a hotel for a good service. It should be in proportion to the service rendered or help done.
I have heard from my parents that they returned a purse full of gold ornaments, by walking all the way, searching for a home address in bangalore and all they got in return was a door being slammed on the face. That was really rude and after hearing that, I would never return back anything now :-)
Hi Hajra, Happy Birthday :)
I think that the low reward for the taxi driver is pretty rude of the person that gave it. He's just lost nearly $10,000 and gives just $3.00 as a reward.... poor show.
I once left my phone in a taxi so the following day I called them and asked about. They said that no phones were found in any taxis so I mentioned that I'd reward the driver if he returned it. They then changed their tune and said they'd look again, 30 seconds later "oh yes we have a phone like that but how will we know its yours?" I told them to bring the phone to my house, I'd dial my number and if the phone rang they'd know it was mine.
So the taxi driver came to my door, i rang the phone to show it was mine so he passed it over with his hand out. Now had he of said straight away yes we may have your phone I'd have given him £20 but because they denied it until i mentioned a reward I gave just £3.00 to cover the taxi fare.
When I have found things I have taken it to the rightful owner and a hand shake is good enough for me. But had I lost something of value and had it returned I would compensate the person for their time and honesty :)
Thanks Hajra, enjoy your birthday :)
I think that a thank you is the minimum you can do. It doesn't cost much, but means a lot. As for financial rewards, I think that the cab driver should have been compensated for his time. That being said, a nice story in a local newspapers with his name could also have done the job. Because if you reward honesty with money, does it remain honesty?
Now from my extremely radical stand point, I would say honesty isn't worth anything in this world (The current state of the world is so bad that it is better not to have honesty - and it's going to be the same for the future, unless someone - or everyone reconsiders morality and clearly define what's moral and what's not).
From my liberal stand point, I would say that honesty should be rewarded (well, because they did take their time to do it).
Another perspective that I have is that we shouldn't reward them at all - honesty is a quality that you have in yourself. You are already rewarding (or being rewarded) to yourself by being honest.
I believe that no one is truly honest; we can't be truly honest, because we all are humans (and there is a certain amount of selfishness among us - even if our conscious mind doesn't want to accept it).
The people who are honest are simply able to control (to an extent) their honesty and selfishness (so the balance is tipped over to the "honest" part).
One day a woman was taking her coins to the grocery store to put in the money changer and get dollar bills (U.S.). She dropped the bucket in the parking lot and pennies went flying everywhere. My daughter 8yo immediately began to help her pick them up. What did that woman offer my little girl---NADA. A big fat zero. My child would've been all smiles with 25 cents. Unreal. I'm still obviously peeved with that whole incident. (Two years ago.)
Upon cleaning up weeds around my fence years ago we came across someone's ID etc. in a wallets plastic card holder. We called the owner and her husband came. Time had elapsed since the time it was stolen and ID was replaced. He told us the story of what happened and thanked us. They could have had money in it and I would have still returned it complete. It is just the honest thing to do.
It feels good to do the right thing. One can sleep at night. When you find money and there is a way you can find the owner it should always be returned. Honesty will always have rewards for you down the line, I believe in Karma.
This one gal many years ago at work she found a diamond ring that one young man had lost. I believe it was for his girlfriend. She felt like since she found it, it belonged to her. She was made to give it back. Unbelievable, and she had daughters his age. Some people just have no ethics.
It is really nice to know most people are honest. Just think if everyone was, we would not have to have locks on our doors!
I think that the very least we owe someone who goes out of their way to help us avoid a major loss or inconvenience is our sincere gratitude. "Thank you" costs nothing, but means a great deal. As for a "cash reward," I think expectations have been unreasonably set by media coverage of exceptional acts of generosity that may not be realistic or doable by the person who has been helped by a stranger's act of honesty and kindness.
It took the cab driver two hours of his time? I don't know what a cab driver earns, but would like to think I'd have at least tried to compensate him for his time. On the other hand, what if it had been an honest lawyer, whose billable hours might cost me $600? What if either of these people could have rendered aid, just as easily, by turning the money/goods in to the nearest police station or calling the person to pick them up at an office or cab dispatch? Would 5% or 10% of the value of the returned item be right? What if the lost item is (as has happened) a friend's priceless Stradivarius violin, and the one who lost it and the friend can't possibly afford to reward the finder cash in any amount approaching the real value - in money OR in personal relief - that they might feel they owe? It's complicated, isn't it?
As an honest person who would do the same - exercising "due diligence" to return an item or money found, or to at least get it to the police or into the hands of another honest person who would try to return it - I expect nothing. I can sleep soundly at night, knowing that I may have saved someone else grief, financial stress, inconvenience, etc. That's its own reward. Somewhere, some time, I have needed or will need help from someone I couldn't repay. It evens out in the end.
Of course, I also feel that people who only do the right thing because they think God's watching and is going to PUNISH them if they don't, aren't very mature in their faith or their moral development. :)
Hajra, interesting topic. For me, it's a matter of our societal "carrot and sticks" method of motivation that concerns me. We feel we are only rewarded if there is an exchange of something tangible. A thank you, a smile, the relief someone feels when they get back what they have lost or the feeling you should get when you have made someone's life better never seems to be enough. I don't know why.
Personally, I don't want something that doesn't belong to and I would prefer to see someone happy than distressed by loss. If I worked hard to get something then and only then do I feel it's my right.
This has never happened to me so I have never tested this specifically but my attitude would and should not change regardless of the situation.
Hmm... I can't think of a specific time that this has happened to me, but in terms of thanking others, I always try to show my gratitude in a big way. And I would be conscious if I personally felt that I wasn't able to "properly" thank another person, especially for something big. I guess it would depend on the situation, and I can imagine it would be weird if the other person felt like I hadn't showed *enough* gratitude. This is tough, although in general, for myself, a "Thank You" is always sufficient.
@Cathy Tittle It basically a selfless act and I don't think anything should be more important than that.
@wonderoftech A thank you is worth more than anything else. But what matters is whether you are insulting the other person in any way...
@FaizAkram The feeling of doing something nice is a good one...
@AdrienneSmith Rewarding does go a long way but maybe acknowledging the fact that they did something nice and did something so kind shouldn't go unnoticed. Maybe going out for a cup of coffee is also quite a reward in itself!
I agree with sleeping fine at night. One should be able to reflect on what they have done through the day and evaluate what matters to them and how!
@Vidya Sury I am so glad you did the right thing and hope things take it from there. Sometimes doing the right thing is really all one can do. And thank you goes a long way. And is mostly enough.
The subscription really hasn't changed. Don't know why you are running through those errors? Did you check the spam folder? Just in case...
@AlanJobe I have been handed over extra change, if I notice I give back. And them saying thank you is good enough!
@brpraveen Some people are rude no matter how nice you are to them. It does make one angry but sometimes good deeds should be done irrespective of what other people do in return. One should able to go to sleep peacefully at night!
@JenaIsle You find tea everywhere in India!
@barry_wells Thanks so much for the birthday wishes!
I am sorry you had to go through that. For some people a tangible reward in return is all that matters. Which undermines all good activities.
I think the good deed is the bigger thing to be kept in mind! Glad you do! :) Thanks so much for the birthday wishes again!
@JSJ2020 Not all acts should be rewarded with money but this time it did create a little bit of debate here. It is the thought that counts.
@Jeevanjacobjohn Well too many perspectives here. But here's what I think. We can't be complaining about the world and then continue doing wrong things. Because we are a part of that world. And change does begin right with yourself.
Honesty will be rewarded... not necessarily by the person who does it but maybe karma. If one is expecting something to happen in return (like I have to get a reward because I did something nice) then the thought changes the whole act - why did you do it, because you want something in return?
As for no one being really honest.... show me one perfect person .....
@Jeevanjacobjohn When you aren't honest it catches up with you with the most severe consequences.
@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing When it comes to kids a little reward always helps. But maybe you should be proud of your girl and keep reinforcing what a brilliant act she did - will always make her happy!
@Mary Stephenson It was indeed the nice thing to do. Sometimes returning what is not yours is the only sensible thing to do. I wouldn't know why people would want to keep things for themselves knowing that others might be losing sleep over it. A diamond ring probably meant for proposal might have cost the young man a considerable amount.
Whoever said Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers... so not agreeing to that!
@Mary Stephenson Some people grew up believing that the children's nursery rhyme, "Finders, keepers - losers, weepers!" was law. Or that "Possession is 9/10ths of the law" was truth. It's not. Under the law, at least in the US, you are obligated to do reasonable due diligence to find and notify the owner. That could be as simple as dropping the item at the nearest police station, though I'd argue against that being a really effective way of returning lost property. Post a flyer nearby with a contact number or email address. Withhold one bit of identifying information to weed out greedy crackpots. I don't remember the length of time required to put into this, but you can't just appropriate found stuff as your own immediately. If the item isn't claimed in a reasonable amount of time AFTER that, it's yours.
@HollyJahangiri Very well said Holly, I have a life experience to share with you.
I was at the Naval Base, San Diego. I lost my wallet with no money in it and when it was returned to me, the person that found it put a dollar in it because I was so broke he felt sorry for me.
@HollyJahangiri Can I super like your comment... well, I liked it! I want to super like it now....
He tried finding the passenger for two hours ... and then he returned to his company and did the needful.. looking for complaints of lost property and calling them back. It is complicated. Should it always be related to the thing left behind! A bit complicated ... yes.
A lot of people talk about karma, good acts will come back to repay you in some nature!
@rdopping That's a nice viewpoint. Would we do nice things only when an award or something tangible is expected in return? A thank you is good enough and that should be the bigger picture is any act of kindness.
Losing something (no matter how much monetary value it holds) might make someone lose their peace of mind. And returning the sigh of relief always is a nice thing to do.
Hope France treated you well!
@Samantha Bangayan It does depend on what situation you are faced with. It might change over experiences too. But yes, when is it enough is tough to define. Sometimes a simple thank you is really good enough!
Or maybe food? ;) I could always use lunch! LOL!
@Hajra :-) No idea about the subscription. I just subscribed again :-)
@Hajra I am making the rounds as I've not been to many blogs lately, and I see that I already commented here.
So, I'll say that honesty is relevant to my post today; in the U.S. we are sick of seeing our elected and appointed officials fall shamefully in sexual scandal. Honesty? There isn't any in the highest levels of government and sports and celebrity.
I remember in school my friend found a fancy pencil - with stickers and glossy things all over it. We actually tracked down the girl from among 3500 students in school and gave it back. She was in the second grade and the pencil was her birthday gift from her sister! In her words it meant "the world" to her!
@Ethical Behavior Boy Hah!! Sweet! But did he really think you were broke, or did he share the superstition that my grandmother had - that it was bad luck to give an empty wallet or purse to someone? If she gave one as a gift, she always put money in it - even just a dollar - to ensure against bad luck.
@Hajra It did. Thanks. Great post BTW. I love your site.
@Hajra HAHA! Hey, I would SOO go for food. I'm obsessed with Korean and Japanese these days. =P
@Vidya Sury Yippeee!!
@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing What is politics without a little bit of drama?
@rdopping Thank you. If we meet, I treat you to lunch for having said that! ;)
@Samantha Bangayan Sounds nice!
@Hajra OMG! You must try ebi fry (Japanese) and bibimbap (Korean). =)
@Samantha Bangayan I have never had Korean or Japanese cuisine.... maybe I have but I don't know! What specifically are you fond of?