Letter: Is honesty always the best policy?

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The Independent Online
From Ms Kitty Paul

Sir: Does honesty really pay? My 21-year-old daughter graduated this year and is busy job hunting in London. After three years as an undergraduate and five months unemployed she has a cash flow problem.

Two months ago, she picked up a discarded envelope which contained $5,000 in cash and $3,000 in American Express travellers cheques. She immediately phoned the American Express number and gave her own name and phone number. Twenty-four hours later the owner of the money left a message to say that he would like to speak to her. Meanwhile, my daughter had decided that it would be safest to take the money to a police station, which she did.

The police told her that if the money was not claimed within six weeks it would be hers. The owner never phoned back. My daughter returned to the police station after six weeks to be told that the money had been reclaimed the day after she had handed it in. She has had no thanks from the owner nor from American Express and has had no recompense for the expenses she incurred in returning it.

I feel very angry that she is now left with the feeling that perhaps honesty was not the best policy. How sad that being honest has been such a costly and demoralising experience for her.

Yours sincerely,

Kitty Paul

Williton, Somerset