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We left 20 wallets around the GTA. Most came back

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posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:27 PM

We left 20 wallets around the GTA. Most came back

Take 20 wallets. Fill each with $43.77 (enough change for a TTC ride and a little extra for good measure), photo ID, baby pictures, a grocery list, receipts, a contact number, an ATM card, a fancy hankie and a handwritten love note.

Now "lose" the wallets in high-traffic areas across Greater Toronto where people work, play and pray. Now wait.

Would the one stashed beside the $197 bottle of Fonterutoli "Siepi" in the Vintages section of the Summerhill LCBO stand a better chance of being returned than the wallet dropped on the pedestrian bridge in Humber Park? Would lawyers-in-training at Osgoode Hall out-Samaritan the patrons of the Parkdale Public Library?

Over a two-week period, the Toronto Star conducted this admittedly unscientific experiment to challenge the city's honesty.

Of the 20 wallets dropped, 15 have been returned so far. We're trying to reach two additional callers who left messages before this story went to press.

The exercise yielded some surprising results. For one, honesty is different than goodness. Goodness is bigger. It's going out of one's way to return that lost item. It's empathizing with someone you've never met.

And, boy, is Toronto good.

In fact, so many concerned citizens called repeatedly that our special phone line (the emergency contact number left in the wallet) was almost instantly clogged with messages.

"Hi. It's James again. I just wanted you to know that in case I'm in the TTC, just leave a message and I'll call you back. Please call."
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 25-4-2009 by grover]

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:27 PM
This is encouraging.

What I am interested in is what would happen if you tried it in a comparably sized city in the United States.

I would like to think that we would do so well... sadly I am not so sure.

Of course the cynical would say that $43.77 is not enough to bother with taking but there was an ATM card in it as well... and while it doesn't say so I would think to add to the temptation they would have included a PIN number as well.

Generally speaking I think that most people are good.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:32 PM
Well, they were selective as to where they put them. Had it been an area like Jane & Finch all 20 would be gone, along with the ones of those planting them.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:33 PM
Good news is always nice to hear!

This experiment has been done a few times over the years. The results are generally the same- which is good because in most of the experiments the wallets are returned.

Back around 1999-2000 I dropped a bank envelope with $800 cash while shopping for dishes and other things for my first apartment. I assumed it was gone for good and was pretty upset but much to my surprise, the married couple who found it saw my driver's license still in the envelope, tracked me down, and returned it to me.

It was so nice to know there are still people like that around.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:42 PM
There have been a couple of times when I tossed all caution to the wind and hitched around the country with little if any plan... and each time I did I met far more good decent people than jerks.

I honestly believe most people have good hearts. Even the ones we might consider terrorists or revolutionaries are for the most part inspired by an ideal they believe is worth dying for... they may be wrong but in their hearts they feel they are doing right.

Most people want to be good.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:48 PM
Thank you for posting this-- I needed a feel-good story tonight.

And I would like to believe that the same experiment in a large US city would give the same results. People are people-- if I may quote a muppet movie.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:51 PM
One of my sons lost a wallet while on vacation in California. He had my phone number in it, and I lived in Louisiana at the time, but my address had the abbreviation of LA. The person who found the wallet called me thinking I lived in Los Angeles. My son was actually living in Phoenix at the time. This nice gentleman priority mailed the wallet to my son, at his own expense, and would not take a reward, and everything was still intact, down to the penny!

There are still a few decent people left in the world!

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 07:51 PM
Toronto is a family's city
80% of torontonians are immigrants
yes i might be exaggerating lol
but everyone you see is a non-caucasian

it's almost culture shock for me to go there
you could lose your english if you live in Toronto
nice people there

every vehicle is a mini-van or an SUV
because it's a family's city

[edit on 25-4-2009 by ModernAcademia]

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 08:03 PM
reply to post by grover

I actually find this surprising. Sad to say that but I do. I guess there still are a majority of honest people in the world. You'd never know that according to most of the MSM though.
Good on The Star for conducting this experiment.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 08:25 PM
Great story thanks for sharing !!

Lets hope there are more such stories in our future !

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 08:27 PM
I wish we had lucked out and got an honest person one of the MANY times my husband has lost his wallet. Once he put our vacation money in a zip lock baggie, in his swimming shorts at a water park ( DUMMY!). You would think he learned a lesson, but he lost another wallet the same way a year or so later. Then he's lost several other wallets and checkbooks, etc. all over the place through the years. He's not allowed to carry more than $20 anymore, and I keep all the cash on me. It only took close to 20 yrs and several hundred dollars for him to give up being the money keeper (and loser!)

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 08:29 PM
reply to post by virraszto

I'll say that I have learned one lesson over the years, and that is that I never put my money and my ID in the same place. Losing one or the other is bad enough.
My wallet is for my ID cards, my money I keep elsewhere.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 08:53 PM
I have seen similar tests on the internet before. The first time I saw such a test, I thought that the majority would never be returned, but I was wrong. Most of them were returned, and I was glad to see that I underestimated the general honesty of my fellow man.

thanks for sharing! I am off to go see how the NFL draft is going!

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 09:46 PM

Originally posted by intrepid
Well, they were selective as to where they put them. Had it been an area like Jane & Finch all 20 would be gone, along with the ones of those planting them.

Now, now...don't say that. People might think you're serious.

And while I'm a big fan of Toronto, I think the average Joe (gender-neutral) all over is pretty honest. Yes, Americans, too

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 09:48 PM
I used to live in Toronto, born and raised in the west end.
When I was still in school (and still a stupid kid) one night I was at a bar getting pretty tipsy with a bunch of friends. Now, this bar was not located in a bad area, but near one. I spent all my money on beer and didn't have enough money for a cab ride home. So I decided to walk by myself and eventually catch the subway. (Brilliant idea!) So, I walked for a while and I took a few wrong turns and ended up in a pretty crappy area. What one may call a ghetto (they're in every big city), and I stood out like a sore thumb. At this point I was starting to get really scared thinking to myself that I'm not going to get out of this neighbourhood alive. Then this one big intimidating looking guy started walking towards me and I thought this is it, I'm done. He came up and asked, "Hey, you're obviously not from around here, this area isn't safe for guy like you. What are you doing here?" Still freaked I managed to tell him that I was coming from this bar on whatever street I had no money for a cab and took some wrong turns and got lost. To my surprise, he actually gave me directions on the quickest and safest route out of the neighbourhood and to the subway. He even went and told his friends on the street to leave me alone and let me pass through. And they did. That guy probably saved me a good ass whoopin' or worse.

The point of my little story is there are a lot of good people in that city, even in the bad areas such as Jane & Finch.

[edit on 25-4-2009 by kommunist]

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 09:54 PM
one time a group of friends and i had a party in a local park. yes illegal.
anyhow i lost my wallet that night. there was about $26 in it.
the next day the police rocked up at my house with my wallet. i was told they had found it in a pile of empty beer bottles in the park after a complaint was made about the mess we left.

funny enough my money was gone. i didn't say anything. i assumed i'd just bought my way out of a fine.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 09:55 PM
I can promise you that if they would be dropped in New Orleans, La...none would have been returned...not only that..your house would have been broken into and trashed the next day..

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 10:53 PM
I'm always surprised when people are surprised at these results. I meet and deal with people everyday, most of them are decent folks, with a few jerks.

But then again, it's the loudest of individuals that get all the attention.

posted on Apr, 25 2009 @ 11:03 PM
reply to post by Blanca Rose

I agree. My sister lost her wallet at Disney in Florida. Some kind person mailed it back her and it too was completely untouched. Not one dime was missing. We only hear about the bad people because they sell papers. There are far more good people then bad in the world.

posted on Apr, 26 2009 @ 05:32 AM
Still I would love to see this test played out in a comparable sized American city... just to see what would happen... better yet try it in different settings like NYC vs St. Paul or New Orleans vs Peoria. Or a Thriving city vs one severely hit by job losses.

I think that the results would tell us a lot about who we are as, not Americans, but as human beings.

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