Tony A. Smith

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Trilemma Decisions

Where is my wallet?

Where is my wallet?

Are you one of those people who are constantly forgetting where you put your keys?  Or, are you one of those people who tend to lock your keys in the car from time to time?  I have to admit that I am the latter. There has been more than one time that I have mistakenly locked my keys in the car.  I don’t know if I just get in too big of a hurry or what.

When my daughter was still in diapers I had taken her to the community mail box to pick up mail with me one hot summer day when we were living in Sugar Land, Texas.  It had to be at least 99 degrees that day with the temperatures rising in the late afternoon. I pulled up to the pedestal mail box with my little one year old daughter sitting next to me with nothing but a diaper and a big smile on.  You know the type of mail box I am talking about! The ones that are all congested together for the entire neighborhood, where you have to try to remember which mail box is yours and hope you can find the right key on your key chain to open the dad gummed thing with.  I unwrapped the little munchkin from her car seat, shut the car door with the car still running, hoisted her to my shoulders and then shut the door behind me.  I did not want to shut the air conditioning off since in the blazing heat and humidity we would return to a closed in box from the lower depths of molten earth.  The little rascal grabbed a few crops on the top of my hair like someone would do to a horses mane and we were off to the our mail box  just a few feet from the car.

I fumbled for a few minutes with one hand holding my daughter and the other in my right pocket trying to find that little mail box key that would fit.  After a few seconds I found the key, opened the mail box and headed back to the car with Val playing patty cake on top of my head.  When I went back to the car I realized that I had locked the car keys in the car with the car running.  I did not know what to do outside of trying to break the glass or try one of those coat hanger tricks to unlatch the lock which was near impossible to do in the car I was driving at the time.  It was then I  placed my little diapered daughter on top of the pedestal mail box and contemplated in frustration how I was going to get out of this little jam.  Fortunately, one of my neighbors across the street had seen what occurred and had some kind of a special device for GM cars that quickly unlatched the door. Boy, was I ever glad he was nearby that day.  I am not quite sure what I might have done next, outside of finding a rock to throw thorough the glass.

Are you one of those people who can’t seem to keep track of your purse or wallet?  Please don’t ever give me a wallet to try to hold on to for you.  I have lost track of how many times I have lost my wallet in my lifetime.  I have lost my wallet in McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken,  Olive Garden, and several other locations.  I have only had to go to the police station one time to pick it up, and of all the times I have always gotten it back. Someone has always returned my wallet, and there has been only one time that they took all of the money out of it before turning it in.  I have finally solved my issues by never carrying it with me in my back pocket. I always place it in my jacket or coat and am constantly checking it to make sure it is in the pocket.  I know the feeling of losing your wallet and I don’t want to go back to that place again in my life if I don’t have to.  I carry everything in my wallet; driver’s license, credit cards, money, pictures of my family, health insurance card, and a whole lot more that I certainly can not afford to lose.  I don’t want to spend the time trying to replace everything in my wallet along with my possible identity if someone chooses to be such a vicious thief.

So here is the trilemma if you want to call it that.  “You find a wallet laying in a field one day as you are going for a walk near your house.  The wallet is loaded with 100 dollar bills, there is a Visa and American Express Card inside. There is a driver’s license with an address so you know the name of the person who owns the wallet, and there are several pictures of family members inside along with a voter’s identification card.  No one is around when you bend over to pick up the wallet.  You have been out of work for 3 years and you could sure use some of this money to pay your bills.  The electric company has threatened to turn off your electricity in the next few days if you don’t come up with the money to pay the past due amount.  You have no food in your fridge and your cupboards are bare.  You have even thought about eating the crab grass and dandelions in your front yard you are so hungry.”

So the question is – “What would you do?”  Would you take a few hundred dollars before turning in the wallet to pay your bill to keep the lights on and maybe buy yourself something to eat?  Who is going to know if you took the money out of the wallet or not?  If you turn the wallet it, at least you have done something that is good even though it might be bad to take the money for your own use.

Is it better to just let it lay on the ground to let someone else deal with the situation?  Should you take some money for your own use before turning it over to the owner?  Should you give everything back to the owner intact and remove nothing.  What do you think?  What would you do?


  1. Dawn says:

    Tony, I have lost my purse so many times, and it was way bigger than a wallet! I know what it is like to panic over the thought of losing important things, like my license, credit cards, phone numbers, check book, cash, and more. I have been blessed to have gotten my purse back every time. Once, my check book flew off the back of our pickup, lost forever, but for some reason, my license and cards were still in the back of the pickup, even though the check book was gone. It was a miracle! I would return everything for someone else, and gladly, because I know what it is like, and the golden rule speaks loudly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tabitha59reachingout says:

    No matter how hungry you are or how broke you are, the wallet and money is not yours and it must be turned in to the police. That is the only thing to do as far as I’m concerned. If you are a believer, you can rest knowing that God will reward you and provide for you. He is faithful. I know that you would do the same thing. 🙂 Your little daughter must have been adorable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would return it without thinking twice. No. Matter.what. because that’s the right thing to do. God sees all and we are awarded for good decisions. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would return it for sure because that’s what I would hope someone would do for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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