To our many global readers, and it must be hard to read this on a globe...there are some very honest people out there, all over! Especially Helsinki, Finland, where 11 of 12 "lost" wallets were returned in an experiment performed by Reader's Digest magazine.
What they did was, they dropped 192 wallets in 19 cities around the world. In each wallet, they left a name, cellphone number, family photo, coupons, and business cards, and $50 worth of the local currency.
19 cities, 12 wallets each. They "lost" the billfolds close to parks, shopping areas and city sidewalks, and waited to get them back.
And here's how that worked out:
1. Helsinki, Finland (Wallets returned: 11 out of 12)
2. Mumbai, India (Wallets returned: 9 out of 12)
3. (TIE) Budapest, Hungary (Wallets returned: 8 out of 12)
3. (TIE) New York City, U.S.A. (Wallets returned: 8 out of 12)
4. (TIE) Moscow, Russia (Wallets returned: 7 out of 12)
4. (TIE) Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Wallets returned: 7 out of 12)
5. (TIE) Berlin, Germany (Wallets returned: 6 out of 12)
5. (TIE) Ljubljana, Slovenia (Wallets returned: 6 out of 12)
6. (TIE) London, England (Wallets returned: 5 out of 12)
6. (TIE) Warsaw, Poland (Wallets returned: 5 out of 12)
7. (TIE) Bucharest, Romania (Wallets returned: 4 out of 12)
7. (TIE) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Wallets returned: 4 out of 12)
7. (TIE) Zurich, Switzerland (Wallets returned: 4 out of 12)
8. Prague, Czech Republic (Wallets returned: 3 out of 12)
9. Madrid, Spain (Wallets returned: 2 out of 12)
10. Lisbon, Portugal (Wallets returned:1 out of 12)
So out of 192 wallets, 90 were returned. Humankind has a batting average of .470 in the World Series of Honesty.
Now, that's kind of low, even if you figure that one or two wallets
might have been swept away as trash or something, not giving anyone the chance to be honest, and let's say that one or two wound up in the hands of people whose destitution left them unable to exercise their honesty muscle. Still, it's disappointing that so many of us are willing to keep ill-gotten gains.
While I wonder what kind of results we would get here in my fair and frantic Baltimore, pardon me while I cancel our plans for a lavish vacation in Lisbon.