Thursday, September 19, 2013


The word integrity is defined as "the quality of being honest and fair" or in other words, choosing to do the right thing even when no one's around to know the difference.

Last Saturday Glen James did something that showed that he's a man with personal integrity. Glen found a backpack full o' money at a mall in Boston. How much money was inside? $2400 in cash and $39,500 in travelers checks! What did Glen do with the money? He turned it in… all of it. (Glen is homeless, which makes what he did even more praiseworthy, in my opinion, because it's not like he couldn't have used that money.)
A few days ago Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis awarded Glen a plaque for his honesty. The commissioner said, "His actions were really a remarkable tribute to him and his honesty."
Glen's fans weren't satisfied with kind words and a plaque, though. When Ethan Whittington (one of Glen's fans) heard about his story he decided to launch an online campaign to raise funds for Glen. "Let's all chip in and help this man change his life," Whittington wrote on the fundraising site. "Every little bit helps. Let's be reassured that there is still hope and humanity in our great nation." Thousand of generous people have donated money to Glen's fundraiser, just to thank him for doing the right thing. The donations have surpassed $100,000, and the total is still climbing.

Returning the money was an easy decision for Glen. He said, "Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny of the money I found. I am extremely religious – God has always very well looked after me."

I've had a similar experience to Glen (only on a much smaller scale). Before my accident I worked at a movie theater as an assistant manager. One busy Friday evening I was helping the ushers clean up an auditorium to get it ready for the next showing. I was picking up trash when I found a wallet under one of the seats. I put in my pocket and took it to the office when I was finished. I looked inside hoping to find a drivers license or some other form of identification so I could call the wallet's owner. I was surprised to find that the wallet was full of cash. (I don't remember how much it was, but it was something like $300 or $400.) I called the owner and left a message on his answering machine that I had found his wallet.

I was the manager scheduled to open the next morning, so I was the first one to arrive at the theater. When I stepped out of the manager's office into the lobby I saw a man pacing the sidewalk in front of the theater and I figured that that had to be the wallet's owner. (I could just tell from the nervous/worried way he was pacing.) I let him in, and sure enough, it was the man coming to collect his wallet. When I returned it to him he opened it to see if the money were still there. I could see the relief wash over him. I don't know anything about the man's circumstances, but I imagined a scenario where the man might've just cashed his paycheck (since Fridays are often payday), and he was feeling absolutely sick with worry wondering how he'd make ends meet for his family if the money were truly gone, or something like that. Times are tough and that's a lot of money to lose!

The man offered me some money, I think it was $20, and I refused to take it and told him that I was just "doing my job." Reuniting the man with his money felt so good and was all the compensation I needed. I was just grateful that I was the one to find the wallet, and not some random patron who may or may not have turned the wallet in, or who may have turned it in a little lighter. 


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