Who knew a trip to the arcade with the kids would present a moral quandry? I certainly didn’t.
So, a little background. Tonight, we took the kids to one of those Chuck-E-Cheese type places for dinner and some fun.
We plopped a few tokens into some machines, played a few rounds of skee ball, and whacked a couple of moles. Chip looked on adoringly as a group of teenagers played Guitar Hero. Some of the machines spit out tickets, which the kids traded in gleefully for handfuls of Tootsie rolls and cheap plastic toys that cost 5 cents to manufacture.
All in all, a rousing evening of good, clean fun. And, normally, that would have been all she wrote. But, tonight, there was a twist.
As we headed for the door, I spied it.
In the middle of all of the chaos and blinking lights, it lay orphaned on the floor next to one of the machines.
It was a perfectly crisp, $5 bill.
I surveyed the room. There were no kids around it. Strike that. There were actually kids running around everywhere. But they all seemed to be oblivious to the money they were stepping on and around. And none appeared to be wandering aimlessly around, looking for their lost allowance.
Enter moral quandry.
Here are some of the ways this might have played out. All hypothetical, of course.
- Parent turns the money into the lost-and-found. (aka, the pocketbook of one of the teenage employees)
- Parent ignores it, and leaves the money where they saw it.
- Parent stops one of the screaming children running chaotically around the arcade. Parent inquires whether this was their $5 bill. Parent hands the money over with the word “sucker” written all over their face.
- Parent casually leads their 2 year-old child into the vicinity of the fallen money. The same 2 year-old who is predisposed to notice and pick up every piece of garbage, food scrap, or gum wrapper they saw on the floor. Parent exclaims loudly, “What did you find there?” when presented with the $5 bill. Waves the money around dramatically to see if anyone notices or claims it. After the obligatory waving subsides, parent figures the money is fair game. Parent pockets it, and gets the hell out of dodge.
Again, all purely hypothetical situations.
So I ask you, faithful readers, what you would have done. Do you think finders are always keepers? How would you have solved a similar moral quandry?