0 I may because I can - Moral Puzzles (by Eugene Matusov)

Moral Puzzles (by Eugene Matusov)

Stories to think about the good and the bad
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I may because I can

Shanti was a dog sitter. She liked to earn money. She wanted to save money to buy a house when she grows up. But often Shanti spent her money on a beautiful dress.

Shanti was good with dogs. She got so many requests to take care of dogs from the neighbors that she often involved her best friends in her dog sitting business: Jessica, Aglaya, Precious, and, of course, her best friend forever Yakiana to help her. Shanti shared her earnings with her friends, depending on how many days her friends helped her.

Once, Shanti was asked to dogsit with a neighbor’s old dog, Max, while the neighbor went on a 10-day business trip. The neighbor promised Shanti to pay her $20 a day. On the fourth day, the old dog Max got sick, and Shanti’s Dad had to bring the old dog to a vet who prescribed Max some medicine. Shanti knew from her past experience what to do with sick dogs and how to take care of them. Fortunately, the owner left an insurance card with a vet’s address. But, despite the medicine, the old dog still soiled rooms at the neighbor’s house, and Shanti had to clean after Max.

On the sixth day, Shanti’s Dad got a 2-day vacation, and the family went to Los Vegas. Shanti asked her best friend Yakiana to dogsit the neighbor’s sick old dog Max and take care of him. Yakiana agreed. Yakiana cleaned the neighbor’s rooms when needed for two days. When Shanti came back from her Vegas vacation, the old Max felt much better, almost normal.

In a few days, the neighbor came back. He called Shanti’s Dad. The neighbor was very pleased with how Shanti took care of his sick old dog. In his appreciation, the neighbor offered to pay Shanti an extra $100 in addition to $200 he had promised her in advance.

When Shanti heard the news from her Dad, she was very happy. She said, “I’ll spend the extra $100 for a new dress that I saw in Macy’s!” Shanti’s Dad said with surprise, “Wait a minute, are you going to share these extra 100 bucks with your best friend Yakiana, who also sat with the old dog and took care of it while he was sick?!” Shanti replied, “Of course not! We agreed on $20 per day, and that’s exactly what I’m going to pay her.”

Shanti’s Dad was upset, “But you got more than $20 per day!” Shanti replied, “Yes, dad, but Yakiana doesn’t know that.” Dad asked, “What if she did?” Shanti was surprised, “But how? Nobody is going to tell her.” Shanti’s Dad said, “But you know.” Shanti replied, “Yes, but Yakiana doesn’t, and she will never know.” Dad insisted, “Yakiana is your best friend. This isn’t how we should treat our friends.”

Shanti thought and replied, “I’m not going to do anything bad to Yakiana. I’m not going to lie to her. I’m not going to break my promise. I just won’t tell her what she doesn’t need to know. If I can get more money, why shouldn’t I? There is no negative consequence. I may because I can. It’s stupid to pass on this opportunity. What’s wrong with that? Nobody will be hurt, and I’ll get some extra money. Unless, of course, you tell Yakiana.” “I won’t,” firmly promised Dad.

There was a pause. Dad did not know what to say to his daughter. He shook his head and left Shanti alone in the room. He knew that his daughter Shanti was wrong, but he did not know how to explain that to her. Do you?

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