Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I was on a cruise ship a few months ago when something happened that has niggled at my conscience for a while since then.

I was sitting in the library area, feet up, on a very comfortable chair, drawing and watching the seascape glide by.  An older husband and wife sat a few yards away from me and a few yards away from them a group of exuberant  students filled up the padded benches just to their left.  Because of the way I was sitting I could see both the students and the couple very clearly.

After a while the students moved on.  Soon after that, the husband of the couple casually stood up and strolled toward the padded benches, picked something up and just as casually returned to his seat.  He had in his hand some kind of  iphone or ipad. Then followed a conversation between them as to what to do with the ipad.  The wife opted to either leave it there or turn it into the desk.  The husband felt that whoever he gave it to would probably keep it for themselves.  As the debate continued in subdued voices, I sat as though concentrating on my drawing.  At some point the wife mentioned that I had probably seen and heard what had happened.  The husband assured her not to worry about me, he was sure I hadn't seen or heard anything, (too old and too intent on my drawing).  What neither of them knew was that I have excellent hearing, and as a teacher I am unusually alert to deliberately casual behavior -- someone's usually up to no good.

After about ten minutes they both got up and took the iphone with them. For as long as I was there no-one came back looking for their possession.

I have no idea what happened in the end, but I must admit that I am disappointed in myself that I didn't do or say something to prevent this from happening.  Even worse, at the time it didn't even occur to me to intervene.  I know I was absorbed in my drawing, but I also know the difference between right and wrong.  Maybe I was just waiting to see they would do.

What do you think?  To me, doing nothing is the same as being part of the problem, not part of the solution.

This incident was brought to mind by Berowne's post today where you can find another moral dilemma for you to solve.

My contribution to ABC Wednesday's letter T.  Thanks Denise and Roger and all other helpers.  For more contributions please click  HERE


Kay G. said...

Hmmm... it's hard to say what I would have done. I think I would have said something, ESPECIALLY when they said they didn't think I heard them! That would have made me mad! LOL.
Still, I don't know, I might have done the same as you...just hoped they would do the right thing and later, wish I had said something!
I do tend to speak up to people though, and very often, it gets me into trouble!

Hildred said...

These moral dilemnas that we run into by chance are a challenge, and sometimes before we have decided between 'should I' or 'shouldn't I' the opportunity to intervene is gone and we are left with regrets...

snafu said...

It is always easier to know what to do after the event. It is difficult to know if I would have done had I been there at the time. I would like to think that I would have somehow made it clear to the couple that I had heard them but on the spot, thinking it through and coming to a decision in time to act is the hard bit. I think I would have missed the opportunity too and, like you, regretted not doing anything.

Ann said...

I would have reported them, what a shame that adults would take something like this!!! They need to face what they did.

Roger Owen Green said...

I'd rat him out. Quite possibly, in part, because of his arrogance toward you.

Gill - That British Woman said...

I would have said something, but that's just me..........mouthy!!

claude said...

Hi Chris
We have the same in France.

kaybee said...

Maybe you were caught on video for that TV program, "What Would You Do?" and one day you will appear on the program with your face blurred out as the 'person who didn't do anything!' I think my response would have been the same as yours, which rather scares me as, what if it was something much more serious and I still didn't do anything??

Reader Wil said...

I I find something I go tto the manager of the establisment or to the police and I shall keep the thing I found and wait for the rightful owner, who has to describe the thing he or she lost. I had to do this last year when I was in Norway and left my camera in a shop on the counter.
Have a great weekend, Chris
Wil, ABCW Team

Wanda said...

Too many times, Chris, I look back on a situation and wish I had said something. Wish we knew the end of the story.

Black Jack's Carol said...

I admire your honesty in getting this story off your chest here, Chris! It's impossible to say what I would have done. "Making waves" is something I normally avoid. Sometimes, I'm pretty good at the "teacher look" that often achieves the desired result without words. I like to think I would have employed that skill at the moment when the husband referred to my age as proof that I was unaware of their conversation. I am hoping the wife's slightly more active conscience won out in the end, and the iphone/ipad was turned in. One thing for sure, I enjoyed your post :)

Barbara said...

This is a hard one when on a cruise where one cannot just disappear after speaking.I can't say what I would have done in the situation but from where I sit now I would possibly have told them where the lost property was. Don't beat yourself up Chris you did not take it and the moment passed. They are the ones who will answer for their actions in the end. Of course they may have changed their minds and handed it it, who knows!

Alan Burnett said...

What would I do? I suspect the same as you, And with luck the owner of the iPhone would have "Find my iPhone" activated so would be able to pinpoint the offending cabin.

Michael said...

I am not sure I would have intervened either but I can tell you, I would have turned in the phone to the front desk as likely someone would go there to look for it. As it is, they could ahve got in some trouble for taking it if like Alan said, someone knew how to locate it through the GPS!

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Trubes said...

Hi Chris,
just stopping by to ask how you are, as I haven't seen any comments from you on ABCW for quite a while, do hope you are ok ?

With regard to your dilemma, to quote, 'Hindsight is a wonderful thing,' unquote. That man was very rude about you, in your presence and I'm pretty sure you would have been very embarrassed, therefore, showing true British reserve, you would have ignored him.
I'm sure I would have acted in the same way as you and hoped he may have handed it into 'lost property'.

Take care,
Best wishes,
ABCW team.

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