Miss Manners: I was doing a good deed, so why did she give me that look?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I discovered a lady’s wallet lying on the ground in the parking lot of a grocery store. I examined the contents and found that it contained a driver’s license, credit cards, insurance cards, a vaccination certificate and other important forms of identification, but no money.

Her address was nearby, and I was able to get her phone number online, so I called to tell her that I’d found her wallet and would drive over to return it.

She sounded excited and grateful, but when I arrived, she immediately inspected it to see how much money was there before giving me a disappointed look.

I explained that I’d found the wallet empty of cash, but she seemed unsatisfied, perhaps silently wondering if I’d taken what had been there. She then handed me a dusty bottle of wine as a gift and thanked me again, quickly escorting me to the door.

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I like helping others and do not subscribe to the adage that “no good deed goes unpunished.” However, I wonder how I could have handled this situation differently. Should I have just mailed the wallet anonymously rather than returning it in person?

I don’t necessarily need to be rewarded for doing the right thing — however, I don’t want to be scrutinized as a potential criminal for doing so, either.

GENTLE READER: You and Miss Manners have in common not wanting to punish good deeds, so perhaps you can also agree that virtue can be its own reward. As in: She thanked you, perhaps not as graciously as she could have, but you still did the right thing.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: It appears that I am old-fashioned. I do not have a cellphone. I do not have caller identification. I do not have an answering machine. When I receive a phone call, I have no technological assistance in identifying the caller.

My parents instructed me to always begin a phone call by identifying myself, such as: “This is Kristen; may I speak with …” This practice seems to have fallen out of date; when I answer the phone, very few of my callers introduce themselves.

Although I do recognize the voices of family and close friends, there are many callers whose voices are unfamiliar, prompting me to ask, “With whom am I speaking?”

My …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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