The BLOG title read, “Moron turns in $140,000.” The title refers to the news story that broke last month. Eli Estrada, a 40-year-old Palm Beach resident found a bag containing $140,000 in unmarked $20 bills.
Mr. Estrada certainly could have used the money. About six months ago, he opened a landscaping and artificial-grass business and is in debt; he says his child support payments are tough to make; and he supports his mother, who moved in with him last year after she lost her house to a fumbled refinancing plan. Yet Mr. Estrada went straight to the police and turned in all $140,000. Apparently a Brinks armored truck somehow lost the money. Brinks rewarded Mr. Estrada for his good deed by giving him $2,000.
So now, was Mr. Estrada a really a “moron”? Only if one views such values as honesty, integrity, and the “golden rule” as foolish. But what about the cheap reward that was offered? Some on this blog said that if they knew the reward for turning in the money would have been so small, they would have kept it. But do we have to be financially rewarded for doing the right thing? Are our values so degraded that we feel we deserve a reward for doing what we’re supposed to do?
A moron? Hardly. Here’s a man who has demonstrated that he had sufficient intelligence to know that some things are more valuable than money—things like integrity, honesty, and doing the right thing. Thank you, Mr. Estrada, for your example. May your tribe increase!
Now then, truthfully, what would you do if you found the money? Give it some thought.
Glad Tidings of Good Things, Vol. 14, May 8, 2008, page 1