How honest are people, really ?

Couple of days back, I had a panic attack. It was one of those days when nothing really goes your way, and you get frustrated at every little thing, driving you nuts, without a moment’s peace. I know, you’ve been there. This time, it was my wallet that took me to the edge. I just couldn’t find it. Its not like I completely did not remember what happened last time I used it but I remembered every time I had to use cash/card the past few days, but just couldn’t exactly place when I would have misplaced it. Of course, I went online to check my cards and there were no new charges on it. That was a relief and I eventually did find it, where it was supposed to be, albeit hidden from cursory looks.

Anyway, besides that, I started thinking whether someone would actually return the wallet back to me, if I had accidentally left it in a restaurant or a bar. I mean, if someone really had access to two credit cards, and a little cash, how honest a man/woman would you have to be to return it to the owner ? I know I would, because I spend quite a bit of time, unfortunately, looking introspectively at myself, setting rules to live by and ideals to follow through. But generally, it does raise the question on how honest people really are ?

I know quite a few people (friends and acquaintances) who would’ve called me to return the wallet but maybe my views are skewed.. I wonder what’s the probability that some completely random person would do it, considering that the economy is going down the crapper, people getting laid off, and poverty levels rising.

I believe that every person is capable of doing the socially acceptable, most moral and immoral acts, all the same, given the circumstance but would I be too naive to believe that we are capable of compassion and honesty even under dire situations ? I hope not, because that reflects on how far we’ve actually evolved.

If you were patient enough to read through this, do share your thoughts…