Parents Claim City Stole $2,000 From Honest Teen

Jeanne Sager

moneyThe Internet is outraged. Don't worry, it happens all the time. And not surprisingly, in the case of a teenage girl who found $2,000 and was honest enough to turn the cash in to the City of Dallas, it's totally misplaced.

See, the City of Dallas has decided it's going to keep the $2,000 that 15-year-old Ashley Donaldson found in a parking lot at a city mall. It's city policy to try to find the owner, but to keep the cash if no one shows. The Internet's response -- and her parents' -- is pretty much the same: those people in the city are mean, greedy SOBs. Donaldson did a good deed, they say, she should be rewarded. But waaaaait a minute here, folks.

Shouldn't you raise kids to do good deeds for the SAKE of a good deed? That the real reward is in knowing you did something selfless? The whole story has left a bad taste in my mouth, but what really gets me is the way Ashley's parents are whining about her "treatment" by the city. Said her dad, Ben, to a Dallas-area news station:

I'm happy that she did what she did, but the way it ended? I wish she didn't find it in the first place, because it certainly didn't teach her the right thing.

It didn't? I think it taught her that there's a good feeling when you take the high road, that honesty is the best policy. Heck, I could trot out a whole pile of cliches here, folks, but let me just cut to the chase. If Ashley Donaldson turned this money in and they found the owner, would she be getting it back? No. So why should she get it back because the owner wasn't found ... when city policy clearly states that this is how it's done?

Nobody stole money or a reward from this kid. It wasn't her money to begin with -- that's WHY she handed it in. That's what should be celebrated here.

To put this in context, imagine you see a Boy Scout walking a grandmother across the street. You smile and get all gushy about the state of "kids these days." Now imagine said Boy Scout gets to the other side, then holds out his hand for his tip. We'd be hearing about kids these days for sure, but something tells me there'd be no smile on your face. So why is this different? Because it was found money, and the Donaldson family is -- like most American families -- struggling at the moment?

If we want to teach our kids the lesson of being nice to others, we have to follow through. Teaching them they should be nice but to expect a reward is really just a way to raise a greedy little brat.

Who is in the wrong here? Is it the city or the family?


Image via jollyUK/Flickr

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