Stealing by Any Other Name is Still Stealing

I tried to teach one of my student’s a valuable lesson tonight.

We were in the computer lab when B___ went out to get a drink. The machine had a glitch, and emptied itself of every can. JACKPOT! I was impressed that B____ didn’t simply think to distribute the cans among his friends, instead he came and got me to ask what he should do.

I told him that we needed to get the security guard to tell him of the broken machine. That while it would be nice to drink all the freebies, if we haven’t paid for them then taking them is still stealing. So B____ went to get the security guard (I don’t speak Korean, so all I really did was stand there), and we showed him the machine.

Instead of gathering up the cans and keeping them for the company that owned them, the guard thanked B____ for his “generosity” and gave the cans to some nearby businessmen. This confused B____, who asked if that was the right thing for the guard to do.
“No,” I said and sighed. Here was a uniformed adult, who should be acting in a role model fashion, and instead has demonstrated exactly the kind of behaviour I was trying to discourage.

“Was he dishonest?” B_____ asked me.

“Yeah, he was. If he’s taking something that he hasn’t paid for, even if he gives them away, he’s stealing. Period.”

Sometimes I don’t get adults.

One thought on “Stealing by Any Other Name is Still Stealing

  1. Brentano Jin Uk Oh says:

    James, use my real name!!! Also I had a little bit of dillema back then; I actually wanted to give a few out and then drink the rest by myself for the rest of the camp, but I just gave them away to the stupid officer… Regrets…

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