If I found ten $100 bills lying on the ground, I would look around to see if anyone else was looking at me and then I'd pick up the money and put it in my pocket. At first I would feel ecstatic and think of how rich I had just become. Unfortunately, after several blissful minutes, reality would smack me upside the head. I would realize that $1000 seems like a lot of money, but it could only pay for a 40th of a year's tuition at an Ivy League school or fill up a Hummer's gas tank a few times. Once this information sank in, my conscience would go to work and make me feel guilty. I would realize that the money does not belong to me and that I have no right to play the "finders keepers" game; the money belongs to someone else and I'd better give it back or else...
Yep, I would have to come up with some way to give that money back to its owner. I would probably make posters that read, "If you dropped your money along Blank Street, call this number." When people would call to claim it, I would ask how much they lost and the denominations it was in; they'd have to tell me they lost ten $100 bills and then I'd return it. If nobody claimed the money after a month, I would give the money to the local animal shelter.
Wait a second! Who am I kidding? If I really found $1000, I'd probably grab my best friend and go shopping! -- Emma Seemann, Carlsbad H.S. graduate
Finding $1000 on the ground is not like finding a lost dog or watch. One cannot put up "found" posters because unless the money has an artistic masterpiece or other design drawn on it (which, actually, would be illegal), it would be impossible to ascertain to whom it belonged. So, if I happened to be the one to find this bundle of joy lying on the ground, there would be nothing I could do except keep it. Of course, I would probably tell my parents and all of my friends about this incredible find. They would understand my unwillingness to share the bills. The smartest thing to do would be to deposit the money in my bank account. Knowing it would be safely stashed away, I could begin to decide how to spend it.
Those who know me would predict that I would use it on a shopping spree. This is indeed a possible option. I would also be tempted to be a good Samaritan and donate it to charity. However, I could always do that later on in my life when I am successful and have an extra thousand to spare. At this point, though, my $1000 would probably be best spent on a plane ticket. I harbor a slight obsession with travel (preferably, but not limited to, exotic locations). Unfortunately, most of this travel has taken place in my imagination -- up until now.
With $1000 in my pocket, I could pretty much travel anywhere: Europe, Africa, or South America (my personal fantasy). Of course, I would have to overcome the problem of where to stay, but such details are trivial. If possible, I would choose a friend with whom I could split the $1000 so we could travel together, which would not only be safer, but more fun. -- Jennie Matusova, La Jolla H.S.
Because I work at a bank, the sight of ten $100 bills is not too uncommon for me. If I saw such an amount lying in the street, I think it would take me a moment to adjust and to process the thought: "Oh, my gosh, I just found a $1000!" My response to the discovery after my initial reaction would probably vary depending on where I was when I found the money. If I were on a residential street, the obvious thing to do would be to go to the nearby houses and inquire whether the money belonged to anyone who lived there. If that failed to turn up an owner, I would consult with my mom, who seems to know exactly what to do in every situation. On the other hand, if there were no houses nearby on the street where I found the money, my only option would be to question anyone nearby.
Ultimately, if there were no way to find out who had lost the money, I think I would be inclined to use some of it for myself. I would put some toward college and toward the upkeep of my car. Then, I would give some of the money to people I'm close to. The remainder of the money I would divide among a couple of different charities that deal with issues that are important to me. Finally, I would give a substantial portion to my church. Disbursing the money wouldn't take very long, but the part that I kept wouldn't be spent quickly. -- Michele Diaz, Poway H.S. graduate
I found $1000 while walking to my car from work. After shoving it in my purse, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I went to the nearest police station and turned it in. I didn't tell anyone other than the officer about my find because no one was around when I found the money, and I knew that the only response I would receive from my friends and family would be disappointment. I knew that turning it in was the right thing to do, but until I received that call from the officer who told me that it was my cash to pick up at the station, I had doubted my decision.
At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of green I had found; $1000 is so much and so little by today's standards. It's, like, 3 iPods or my college books or 20 video games or 10 of my paychecks. I wasn't sure what to spend it on, but I knew one thing for certain: I wasn't going to tell anyone about it until I had decided how I wanted to spend it. So I placed the money in my savings account, safely out of my hands, and began to think of how to spend it.
I researched some stocks and bonds first and decided to invest in copper, since it had become one of today's hottest commodities. That took care of $300. I donated another $100 to the Invisible Children movement. After making my donation, I filled my parents in on my find. Then I gave $200 to my mom for the down payment on my braces.
They suggested that I keep the rest of the money in my savings account for future emergency expenditures, and I heeded their advice. I was not the most interesting spender, but after being used to biweekly paychecks and spending those on shopping, this $1000 was an investment in my future. -- Amy Culley, Our Lady of Peace H.S. graduate
I always want to do the right thing -- karma is swift, you know -- but I need a vacation. One thousand dollars couldn't cover a car or my future college tuition, but I could spend it in an instant on a plane ticket. London, New York, Greenland -- it wouldn't matter. The only rule would be that I'd go by myself...not because I want to escape my family or desert my friends, but because there's more freedom in traveling alone. I would pick where to eat, what attractions to visit, and my own wake-up calls (an important requirement for this sleep-deprived student).
Three years ago, I signed up for a Girl Scout camp in Orange County. I didn't have any friends there, and I hadn't spoken to a soul attending until I got onto the camp bus; I wanted to live without the safety net of family and friends. I enjoyed nine days of archery, canoeing, and anonymity. I've written my name on a thousand school papers, filled in hundreds of standardized testing bubbles, and raised my hand for dozens of roll calls. I'd like to be in a place where no one demands my name.
The settlers at Jamestown wanted new lives in the new world, and the pioneers who crossed our country were seeking new beginnings. In modern life, that indepen-dent feeling hits me when I break my routine and take the risk of being anonymous. For $1000, I could chomp on some airline peanuts, stare at the clouds, and be more than an I.D. number. -- Madeline McCurry-Schmidt, Valhalla H.S.