If there is anything I have learned from years of watching television as a child, it is that finding money is not necessarily a good thing.
Don’t you remember when Bobby Brady found a wallet with $1,100 in it while they were playing in an alley? Mom and Dad Brady took time out from their generally happy existences to run an ad in the local paper (always a good idea) and the owner of the wallet was found.
What was the reward for such an act of honesty? The boys got $20 and had to share it.
I wasn’t inspired by that outcome. They did the right thing but it didn’t make me look twice in alleys trying to find lost wallets.
And who can forget when Andy Griffith – who gets a lot of credit for being a good father even though his first response was often very wrong (thus giving hope to all of us who sometimes overreact) – helped Opie find the true owner of a wallet he found with $50 in it. That would be about $400 today.
They didn’t run an ad seeking the owner during the seven-day waiting period, but the owner wisely ran an ad in the Mayberry Gazette seeking his lost wallet.
I’m telling you, running ads in the local paper has always been a good idea.
Just hours after the waiting period elapsed and Opie ran down to the General Store and bought a fishing pole, the owner stopped by Andy’s office and told Opie about the lost wallet.
When Andy was out returning the man’s money, he found out that Opie had met the man and didn’t offer the money. When Andy found Opie’s piggy bank broken at home, he assumed his son was on a spending spree.
But we know Opie wouldn’t do that. He would kill a mother bird with a slingshot, but he wouldn’t misspend money.
Opie was getting all of the money together and trading his fishing rod back in at the store and asked Andy to make sure the man got his money.
Andy was so proud of his boy that he took him to the store after all.
Happy endings are nice.
But in real life, things aren’t always tied up in such a neat bow.
A homeless man in New Jersey found $850. He turned the money in to the police, even though he is homeless and I’m sure he had a few items on his wish list that he wouldn’t be able to purchase without those funds.
Page 2 of 2 - Like Opie, he faced a waiting period. But instead of a week, he waited six months to get the unclaimed cash. As soon as he received it, his welfare benefits were withheld because he didn’t report the income. His $210 check will be suspended until the end of December.
A local newspaper and the local United Way are doing what they can to reward the man for his good deed while the Hackensack Human Services Department brought the Grinch out a little early this year.
I would rather not find any amount of money. I would have no choice but to do the right thing and who needs the hassle and hard times that brings.
I would rather continue looking in my savings account – where I know I won’t find any money.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org