Money on the Ground

I walked by a ten dollar bill on the sidewalk today. I wasn't torn about walking by it, just stunned that no one else noticed it. I thought about picking it up, though not to keep it for myself. It didn't belong to me. But I figured the homeless guy on the corner could use the money for food, alcohol, cigarettes, or whatever was his most pressing need. Unfortunately, the homeless guy wasn't there. So, I walked on.

This reminded me of the time I found a hundred dollar bill on the floor of a checkout lane at Wal-Mart. I figured the money belonged to the old man that had just walked out of the store. But I just gave it to the cashier, too lazy to follow the man and totally blanking on what he looked like. (I rarely pay much attention when I'm waiting to checkout. The impulse items—the candy, sodas, and magazine covers---are too distracting.)

I wonder what happened to the ten dollars on the sidewalk and the hundred I gave to the cashier. I hope that the rightful owners got their cash back, but honestly, I don't care. The key is that it's not on me. It did what I thought was right by not keeping the money. And though, I didn't do much to return the cash to its rightful owner, any negative karma from keeping it for myself was avoided.

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