Ethics Hero, Thanksgiving Division: Scott Stuckey, Manager of Atlanta’s Omni Hotel

Scott Stuckey gets hugged by a grateful non-criminal Joel Hartman was homeless and surviving in Atlanta by dumpster diving, but when he found a lost wallet with the owner’s identification and credit card inside, he was determined to do the right thing. The wallet obviously belonged to a tourist, so the 36-year-old man checked the hotels in downtown Atlanta until he found out that the tourist (from France, for a conference) was staying at the Omni Hotel.

After Alanta’s Omni manager Scott Stuckey saw the surveillance video of Hartman—who looked as destitute as he was— turning in the wallet to the hotel’s  security guards, he decided that a reward was in order.  Hartman had given them a fake name, so it took some effort to track the shy good Samaritan down. Stuckey and his staff searched for a week, leaving messages with other homeless people that the Omni wanted to thank the man who recovered its guest’s stolen wallet. Eventually Hartman heard about their quest, and showed up at the hotel. He was shocked at what Stuckey had planned for him. Hartman was told that he would be the Omni’s guest in a luxury room through the Thanksgiving holiday with complimentary room service. The hotel also  gave him $500.

I think the gesture by Stuckey and the Omni was kind, appropriate, and in keeping with the spirit of the holiday….but: Continue reading

Making Sure Obamacare Wrecks The Holidays, Too

What if you choked on that turkey and went into a coma...did you consider that?  How would you pay for the the hospitalization? That's why you need insurance...

“What if you choked on that turkey and went into a coma…did you consider that? How would you pay for the hospitalization? That’s why you need insurance…”

Ah, the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas! Time to gather together in safe, friendly, warm and loving homes, united with loved ones, family and friends, to eat good food together, laugh and sing together, exchange gifts, good wishes and hope, perchance to worship and pray, but most important of all, to hector the stuffing out of everyone on behalf of the Democrats and Obamacare, because there really is no private, family time, time to give thanks and reflect of better things for our fellow human beings—just one great opportunity to carry the message of Big Brother to the eager, desperate and gullible, because, after all, the holidays are really about Barack Obama and his struggling health care law. Right?

Yecchhh. dare they? Programming an army of Obamaphiles to turn the holidays into an extended infomercial for Obamacare crosses multiple lines, several of which place the stepper into disturbingly familiar totalitarian, collectivist territory, where every citizen is deemed a deputized agent of The One True Authority Over Us All. On, the faithful Obamabots are given all they need to ruin the holidays, including a helpful “packing list” (to make sure your family has everything they need to enroll in Obamacare),  various ways to plot to ambush your loved ones to turn the conversation away from peace, good will and sugar plums to saving the President’s bacon, and talking points, so you can be just as charming and honest as Jay Carney, David Plouffe and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Continue reading

An Ethical Holiday

I’m going to concentrate on trying to make the beginning of the holiday water-slide (which always starts on November 23, my wedding anniversary—this is our 31st, as I was married when I was 13) as memorable as possible, so unless something earth-shattering occurs, Ethics Alarms will be at status quo until sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, I want to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Like many holidays, Thanksgiving is firmly rooted in ethics. One doesn’t have to be religious to acknowledge the fact that we have much to be grateful for, even in difficult times personally, nationally, and culturally. Gratitude is closely linked to modesty, humility and proportion in the hierarchy of values. American tradition urges us never to be satisfied with things as they are, but we should always be humbled by the fact that there are so many ways things could be far worse. There is no better time to begin a personal tradition of kindness and generosity toward others to last the year, or a lifetime.

In Southwest Washington, D.C., a section of town plagued with poverty, crime and violence, convenience store owner Ephrame Kassayegave out 375 turkeys as gifts to the community, in thanks and recognition of their loyalty. He said he was grateful for his patrons, and wanted to show it. That’s what Thanksgiving should mean, and that’s why it isn’t just a way-station between Halloween and Christmas. If nothing else, we all have each other in our families, communities, nation and world to make our lives richer, and if one day on the calendar helps remind us of that when we are feeling angry, anxious, envious and sad, it’s a day well spent. Life’s worth the trouble. Pass it on.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everybody.

Heeding the Christmas Season Ethics Alarms

Yes, it has come to this. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas season is a pre-unethical condition, getting worse every year. (Pre-unethical conditions are situations that experience teaches us deserve early ethics alarms, since the stage is set for habitual bad conduct.) The financial stresses on the public and the business community in 2010 will only fuel the creeping tendency to ignore the moral and ethical values that are supposed to underlie the winter holidays—charity, gratitude, generosity, kindness, love, forgiveness, peace and hope—for the non-ethical considerations that traditionally battle them for supremacy: avarice, selfishness, greed, self-pity, and cynicism. Combine this with the ideological and political polarization in today’s America and the deterioration of mutual respect and civility, and the days approaching Christmas are likely to become an ethical nightmare…unless we work collectively to stop that from happening. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: George Clooney

An ethical challenge that all of us face now and then involves being present in a gathering when a host, a friend, a colleague or someone else makes an objectively bigoted or outrageously unfair and disrespectful  statement about a group that is not represented and thus unable to defend itself. At such times we all have a duty to confront and correct the speaker and condemn the sentiment, but the execution is difficult, and requires tact, knowledge, clarity and courage. Doing and saying nothing, however, gives the speaker and his slander support and tacit endorsement.

Fortunately, thanks to the magic of on-line video and George Clooney, we now have a lovely “How To” clip that demonstrates the right way to discharge one’s ethical duty in these awkward situations. Continue reading