Tag Archives: generosity

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Quiz: From The Ethics Alarms Mailbag…”

panhandlerThe ethics quiz based on a reader’s off-site query regarding the ethics of giving to panhandlers when they are unlikely to use the gift wisely prompted a rich and thought-provoking thread. There were many “Comment of the Day” worthy responses, but I chose this one to represent them, in part because it is the most altruistic in spirit.

Here is my old friend Mark’s Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: From The Ethics Alarms Mailbag…

Back in the days when street folks still asked for a quarter, I used to pass the same guy every day and always gave him $.50 ($2.50 a week). A co-worker seeing me give money to the guy mentioned that the same street person usually arrived to his “office” in a cab. I thought about it for a second and decided that my $2.50 a week – constantly available to me and replenished on a bi-weekly basis – was not enough to challenge what he did with it after it left my hands.

I am also one who will invite someone into McDonald’s with me and have them order what they like. I keep a few dollars in the car for the men and women who haunt the very large intersection near my house. My end-of-the-year charity dollars go to the local food banks.

I am no paragon (I will, however, agree to “exceptionally soft touch” or “sap”). It is simply my own personal practice to help when I can with a fair certainty that I will not – God willing – in this lifetime lack for a dollar (or someone to help me). Perhaps it’s just so much new age crapola, but I believe we get back what we put out. For this sap, it’s just that simple. I have enough trouble sussing out my own motives without trying to figure out strangers with a hard-luck story.

My $2.50 🙂

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Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Daily Life

Ethics Quiz: From The Ethics Alarms Mailbag…

burningmoneyimageReader and sometime commenter Elizabeth 2 e-mails…

Here’s a question for which I’d appreciate some input.

I am generally a sucker for street people who ask for money. I frequent the 7-11 for quick trips for needed household items, and over the past couple of months I’ve often seen a young woman outside, just sitting there.  She once asked me if I had any spare change:  I gave her $10.  A couple of weeks later, same question, same response.

Then a month or so after I had last given her money, I was in the same 7-11 and saw her buying lottery tickets.

Last week she saw me as I entered the 7-11, recognized me, and asked me again for “spare change.” I said “I don’t have any cash at all.  Sorry!”  I was not of a mind to help this young woman use my charity for the biggest scam of all time:  the Virginia Lottery.

My question is this:  if I am willing to part with money for a person who seems to need it, and to do so without the vetting that a charity usually gets from me, am I in any position at all to care or change my behavior because of the way the money is spent?  Admittedly I have no ability to realistically judge the true need of anyone who asks me for money, but if I have some evidence that makes me wary, should I act on it?

Or, since charity (monetary or otherwise) is an important pillar of character for me, should I simply give what I can when I can and make no judgement whatsoever?  After all, these people don’t have Form 990s for me to examine.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is it ethical to withhold charity from a needy individual because you regard her likely use of your gift as irresponsible?

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Holiday Encore: “Christmas: the Ethical Holiday”

darth-vader-christmas

I googled “Christmas ethics” yesterday, and guess what came up first. This Ethics Alarms post, from December 25, 2010.

I fix a couple of things, but it is basically the same. If I were writing it anew, I might not use the loaded term “war on Christmas,” which those who are trying to shove Christmas out of the national culture indignantly deny. It isn’t a war, exactly, just a relentless, narrow-minded and destructive effort to take something that has been enduring, healthy, unifying and good, and re-define it as archaic, offensive, divisive, and wrong. Call it the suffocation of Christmas, or perhaps the assassination of Christmas. Whatever one calls it, the process has progressed since 2010.

We’ve discussed on various comment threads quite a bit about how Christmas music has almost vanished from radio. It has also been effectively banned from public schools, who are terrified of law suits in era when parents might sue over their child being warped by learning “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” “Here Comes Santa Claus!”, another one of Gene Autry’s liveliest Christmas hits, one he wrote himself(unlike “Rudolph”), has been declared musica non grata everywhere but on nostalgia satellite radio. It is such an up-beat song; Bing Crosby sings it with the Andrews Sisters on his iconic “Merry Christmas!” album. Why is it unwelcome today? It is unwelcome because the lyrics say we are “all God’s children,” and ends with “Let’s give thanks for the Lord above.” Can’t have that.

The ascendant attitude toward Christmas is both anti-religious and non-ethical. In my neighborhood, there are far more Star Wars Christmas figures, including Yule Darth Vader ( though thankfully not the 18-ft. Hammacher-Schlemmer version pictured above) and Christmas Storm Troopers, than any suggestion of peace, good will or love. Even these non-sectarian displays are too much for the Diversity Fascists, like this guy:

diversity-tweet

Such people believe that a healthy national culture embracing love, charity, generosity and kindness is disrespectful, and their society-rotting ideology is as much of a threat to our nation as terrorism. I don’t know how to reverse the damage already inflicted on our society, but I do know that we have to try. Reinvigorating Christmas and the ethical values it stands for would be a good start.

Merry Christmas, everyone—and I do mean everyone.

Finally, here’s the post..

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Literature, Love, U.S. Society

From The “When Ethics Alarms Ring” Files: The Saga Of The Kind Repo Man

car-paid-off

Jim Ford is a repo man, the co-owner of Illini Recovery Inc., a company in Southern Illinois. Pat and Stanford Kipping were in arrears in the monthly payments for their car, a 1998 Buick, and he was engaged to repossess it.

The past due amount  was about $350, and the payment amount was $95 a month. The Kippings are elderly retirees, and when he met with them in their home, his task became more and more unpalatable. “I had to get the hell out of there,” he recalled. He was feeling more guilty by the second, and was especially bothered by their explanation that health care costs, especially rising prescription drug expenses, caused them to fall behind on their payments. Ford could see himself in that same dilemma some day.

The Golden Rule can be a bitch.

He felt so badly about taking the car that he stopped to phone a bank official only a block  or so after seizing the car, and asked if he could just pay off the whole loan on the couple’s behalf. That, he learned, would be a red tape nightmare. Instead, Ford followed a friend’s advice and  launched an online fundraising effort in his own name. That attracted support from Ford’s friends and business associates, and in about 24 hours, the appeal had raised the necessary amount, and more.

The Kippings got their car returned and completely paid for, along with an oil change, detailing, and repairs. They also received an extra $1,000, and the week of Thanksgiving, the gift of a turkey from Jim Ford and his friends. When Ford arrived to deliver the car, family members,neighbors and a reporter from a local paper were waiting to be part of the moment.

“They were really really happy,” Ford said. “I don’t know. I was just glad I could help somebody out.”

When ethics alarms ring, good things  happen.

 

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“Such Is Life,” The Kindness Of Strangers, And The Wonderful Ethics Saga Of Moises Treves And Judy Anderson

Such is life

This is an old story, but I’ve never written about it, and I need to be reminded that there is good in the world.

In the mid 1970s, Moises Treves was a day cook at a small taco stand on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, By all accounts he made the best tacos in town, and  American tourist Judy Anderson, a school teacher who visited the island several times, was a special fan of them. On one visit in 1977, Judy, traveling alone as usual, invited him to accompany her to the Mayan pyramids in the Yucatan Peninsula. Moises happily agreed and served as her tour guide. They had  lunch, speaking as best they could to each other using Judy’s limited Spanish and Moises’ broken English.

During the meal, Judy asked Moises if he had any ambition to open his own restaurant. Ah, he said, that was his dream, but he despaired of it ever coming true. He just didn’t have the money, and couldn’t seem to save anything.  Judy responded,”Such is life!,” an expression that Moises had never heard. He asked Judy about it, and the saying stuck in his mind.

As the lovely day came to a close, the two friends said goodbye:  Moises was about to take  the ferry back to the Cozumel, and Judy was heading o the airport and then home to United States. Mysteriously,  Judy gave Moises a sealed envelope and told him not to open it until he was home.

When Moises opened the envelope, he found five $100 bills.  They were accompanied by a letter that said,

“Dear Moises. Go make ‘Such is Life’ happen. Love Judy.”

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Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Heroes

Ethics Hero: Minu Pauline And Her Curbside Fridge

free food

Ethical people will come up with the damnedest ways to do good things.

After watching the poor and homeless rummage through the dumpster outside of the restaurant she owns in Kochi, India, Minu Pauline thought about how she could facilitate access to the perfectly edible food that her establishment had to dispose of on a regular basis. So when she opened a second restaurant, it included a fully functional refrigerator on the sdiewalk out front.  She stocks it with leftover food from her restaurant, and invites others to do likewise.  Now her customers and residents of the community leave their leftovers and excess food, marked with the date, in the curbside fridge too.The homeless and the poor can take whatever they need 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without having to beg.

Pauline calls the refrigerator  nanma maram, which means “tree of goodness” or “virtue tree.” The name is particularly apt, for she is providing dignity and kindness, as well as charity.

________________________

Pointer: Fred

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Ethics Quiz: The “420” Tattoo And GoFundMe Ethics

Tattoo 420

Tabitha West, of Fulton, New York, created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a worthy cause: paying for her to get a giant woman  “420” tattoo removed from her forehead. “420” apparently means “I’m a pot head.” Some madman tied her down and defaced her. Wait, no scratch that. She paid to have someone but the big, ugly, stupid tattoo there. Now she finds that having a tattoo on her face that proclaims her love of illegal drug use is an impediment to employment. Huh. Boy, knock me over with a feather: who could have foreseen that?

So, broke and desperate, Tabitha—did I mention that she is an imbecile? Did I need to?—is begging for kind and generous people to undo what she did.

Her message on the GoFundMe page, seeking a goal of  $800, reads:

“I am wanti,g $ to get that tattoo off my for head I want to have a better start out in life and have a second chance at life please help me I was young n dumb when I got that I’m older one looking for a job can’t get out and people call me a druggie every day of my life and being called 420 is not nice and I almost killed my self over it. … can’t stand to look at my face anymore. .save a life save me..invest in me and I will show you I can be better with my life. ..thank you.”

We can all see from that eloquent appeal that Tabitha is a dummy no longer, and thus a superb investment.

Surprisngly, some critics demur. Shawn Morse, for example, wrote in response to the appeal:

“It’s people like you that keep my (sick) girl from getting help. My daughter has three brain tumors, cerebral palsy, neurofibromatosis, an optic glioma, & a feeding tube. My daughter’s GoFundMe keeps getting passed over for things like this. There are too many people begging for money for their bad decisions in their life.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the day is…

Is it unethical for Tabitha to seek help on GoFundMe, and for donors to give her money?

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Marketing and Advertising, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, The Internet