Monday, 1 December 2014

Doing the Right Thing Right

So you want to do the right thing.
  1. On the way to the supermarket a young woman asks you for money.
  2. A man says he is lost and stops you on the street needing a phone.
  3. An 85 year old woman is sitting smiling on the sofa after having a fall and feels well enough to go home where she will have a nap.
What would you do? What helps you make a decision? Do the following accounts help make your mind up?
  1. The young woman is a known drug addict
  2. The man has an Irish accent and a piece of paper with a phone number and offers you 50p for the call.
  3. The older woman's grey hair is matted with blood where there's a small bump and she experiences episodes of dementia.
That's all that I knew or could tell from what I saw and heard. I wanted to help in each case and do the right thing but...
  1. I did not want to give the young woman money to feed her habit.
  2. I did not want to be conned by a phone scam.
  3. I did not want the woman to go home and have a nap and not wake up (due to concussion).
 So...
  1. I asked the young woman if she wanted a sandwich and when I returned, with what she called a 'posh BLT', she gave me a 'slap' on the butt with thanks and a smile.
  2. I used my phone and called the number for the man and his friend gave me instructions for where he lived and he thanked me saying he appreciated help for and from a 'total stranger'.
  3. I made sure the older woman did not go home before being seen by paramedics and her daughter being contacted. 
Would my actions have been different if I had not had people who witnessed what I did? Are my actions those of someone who wants to do the right thing to avoid feelings of guilt or judgement? Is it a belief in 'What goes round comes round' or 'Pay it forward'? Are my ethics or my morals at play?

Is it altruistic? If I got didn't benefit from it or suffered no loss in not doing it - yes. But it made me feel good and if I didn't do it I'd feel guilty. So does it mean if it's not altruistic that its not doing the right thing for the right reasons?

How do you do the right things right?

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