It’s called “Lost and Found” — not “Lost and Kept”

On several occasions over the last year, I’ve left items behind at various places around campus.  Everyone has fallen victim to this, particularly when we’re so focused on our studies and rushing around to make class times.  Once, I left a textbook in a classroom.  My 3–ring binder has been left in the Parker lobby twice.  I absentmindedly left the power cable to my computer plugged into a classroom wall not long ago.  And just the other day, I’d removed two solid silver rings, in order to wash my hands, and then left them on the sink in the 1st floor Parker men’s room.  I returned 20 minutes later to find that they were already gone.

Right up to this last momentary lapse in conscientiousness, I have been very impressed by the level of integrity in our community and how most people here seem to be very good at turning things in to Public Safety’s Lost and Found department or simply leaving items where they are so that the owners can return to find them.  I even had one guy who was nice enough to thumb through my 3-ring binder, find my name and phone number on one of my documents, and was actually trying to call me when I returned to retrieve the binder.

I’ve turned items in to Lost and Found several times and I’ve just enjoyed so very much that I go to school with a lot of people who actually maintain a high level of integrity and concern for their fellow community members by doing the same.  But now — regrettably — there is a little bit of tarnish on the whole thing for me.

Every item I’ve lost at NSU has been returned to me in one fashion or another — except for those rings.  I really am surprised.  Honestly, when I was on my way to the men’s room to retrieve those rings, I darned near fully expected to find them sitting right where I left them.  All the way down the stairs from the 3rd floor I couldn’t help but recall the several previous occasions when my items had been returned.  I actually was a little surprised to find those rings gone, and then, not find them turned in to Public Safety.  Call me crazy for having a little faith in my fellow students.

Of course, it would not have been good at all if my textbooks had not been returned — they aren’t cheap.  And, that 3–ring binder, which carries my student life in it, would be very challenging to reproduce if it were lost forever.

Textbooks and binders, though, can be replaced and order can be restored in the universe with items such as those.  But those darned rings, man.  Those cannot be replaced.  They were very unique.  One was procured in Los Angeles and the other in Las Vegas.  I highly doubt that I’ll ever see rings like those again anywhere — unless I spot them on the perpetrator who kept them.  They really mean a lot to me as they remind me of some very interesting times and places from my life.  And, they weren’t cheap.  Given my experiences thus far at NSU, I’d bet that almost anyone who might have happened upon those rings on the men’s room sink would have turned them in.  I guess I just have lots of luck and got one of the few who doesn’t consider others when moving about their day or any concern at all about another’s loss.  It’s probably the same guy who cut me off in traffic and nearly ran me off Pine Island Road on my way to school that day.

So yeah, there is now a little bit of a blemish on my mental image of NSU honor.  Someone among us apparently just doesn’t have any.  I guess it really comes as no surprise that, out of the several items I’ve lost and found at NSU, it turns out to be those rings that were lost and kept by the finder instead of returning them to their rightful owners.

C’mon NSU.  Let’s raise the bar of our personal honor and maintain a bit more concern where others’ property is concerned.  I bet the guy who has my rings probably wouldn’t have stolen them off my desk if he’d walked by during class when I’d removed them to stretch my fingers.  Therefore, just because something is mistakenly left behind doesn’t necessarily mean that the owner doesn’t want it back and it certainly doesn’t entitle you to just take and keep what isn’t yours.  Succinctly put, the definition of stealing is “taking something that belongs to another.”  This includes lost items.  If you find something that doesn’t belong to you, turn it in.  Because if you don’t, well — you’re just a thief no different from any other low–life thief — and there’s no honor among thieves.

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