Video shows kids reacting to strangers dropping their wallets

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

For the most part, Japanese society stresses being considerate and courteous. 99 times out of 100, that makes Japan a great place to live, but in certain situations those virtues can be taken to such extremes they actually end up contrary to their original sentiments. For example, part of being courteous is not bothering others, but as I’ve talked about before, in rare instances that bit of well-meaning deference can get warped into not getting involved in other people’s affairs even when they’re clearly in a quandary.

But while adults sometime stumble while walking the tightrope between forcing unasked for assistance on someone and helping those in need, what about children? That’s the question posed in this video showing a group of kids reacting to a stranger dropping his or her wallet at the bus stop, and the outcome just might restore a bit of your faith in humanity.

The video comes from the Japan Red Cross Society, and is part of its Cross Now! initiative. The campaign’s goal is to create greater awareness of the way our interactions with others, especially those we have the power to help, shape our communities, societies, and world.

Titled "Can You Do the Right Thing?" the video shows the same scenario being repeated with different children. We see a group of people already waiting at the Aka Renga Warehouse East bus stop in Yokohama’s harbor district. Just as a mother arrives with her child, she says she has to step away for a moment, and tells her son or daughter to wait there for her.

A few moments later, after Mom is out of sight and no longer in a position to give instructions, one of the other adults waiting for the bus “accidentally” drops his or her wallet, which falls right in front of the child. Each of the kids notices right away, but without a parent or other adult telling them what to do, will they take the initiative to return the wallet, or at least speak up and let the owner know it was dropped? Watch the video below and find out.

Initially, some of the kids seem monetarily paralyzed with shy nervousness. One little girl murmurs “Your wallet fell” in a shy voice not much louder than a whisper. Later, we see a boy go so far as to pick the wallet up, but all he can manage to say is, “Ummm…” before timidly placing it back on the ground.

In the end, though, all of the tykes persevere, summoning their courage and not giving up until they’ve got the owner’s attention and the wallet is back where it belongs. One awesome little guy picks up the wallet less than a second after it hits the pavement, and immediately hands it over.

So wait, if every kid passed with flying colors why did I say this might restore your faith in humanity? Well, the Red Cross doesn’t specifically state one way or another whether this was an actual hidden camera social experiment, or simply a scripted recreation of how things should go if we’re all looking out for one another. Still, I’d like to think these were honest reactions by genuinely thoughtful and helpful kids who didn’t know they were being watched and tested.

Sources: YouTube/Japanese Red Cross

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Living Wallet: The high-tech/creepy solution to your money spending problems -- Shoplifting becomes an increasingly difficult problem for Japanese officers -- New Totoro wallet may put a dent in your current one, but we think it’s worth it

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Nice video, cute.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I was moved to tears. Compare Where in the USA a child is lauded for giving money that they have found to someone else.

I note toddlers were not encouraged to return opposite sex wallets. In my neighborhood speaking to an opposite sex child results in one being reported as suspicious person. One can not be too careful.

Western commentators since the Edo period have marveled at Japanese honesty with regard to personal possessions and the absence of theft. Thery also marveled at the sexual mores, and speech crime (e.g. flattery, deceit, and creative accounting). That said I believe the Japanese to be the most moral nation on earth.

"The Lost Letter Technique" made famous by Milligram et. al. (1965) found that 70% of personally address letters but only 25 of Nazi/Communist party addressed "lost letters" were returned. Earlier research by Merritt and Fowler (1948) found that 85% of letters, but only 54% of letters presumed to contain money were returned. And yes, there is comparative lost letter research. West (2003) dropped phones and wallets containing cash in Tokyo and New York and the results were T 95% vs NY 77% for phones and T 85% vs NY30% for cash. Near Tokyo rates of return were obtained outside a Japanese supermarket in New York.

But how could one test sexual and linguistic morality? Lost underwear technique?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Liked the little girl who dusted the purse down before she handed it back... cute.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

amazing in the vid from USA ... (Timtak) where the first thought of the interviewer was... that the boy was lucky to find 20$...and would have that 20$ to spend on himself... no thought of finding OWNER at all...!!! The child gave it to a soldier, but still no thought of who had lost it... someone who may have been very poor themselves and really needed that 20$

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Way too cute. Coupe of years ago when I was still in high school in Canada, I found 50$ on the floor. My high school was a small one where you know almost everyone so I didn't want to keep the money so I went to the secretary office and told them that I wanted to give back what I found so if a student come and ask if someone found 50$ then they will just have to give it back to him/her. The girl looked at me like if I was from Mars. She asked me 3-4 times if I was sure and that was after she started to beleive it. It's one of the reasons why I like it here in Japan. A lot of people find it normal (which is) to give back what belongs to someone else.

About the video, if a kid give me back my wallet I would sure give him/her 1000Y or something. I just hope it would be fine since maybe it's not the best thing to do. I mean it's not an act you have to do with the purpose to get a reward, but since my wallet itself is very expensive I think the kid would deserve it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A young Japanese boy handed me back a ¥500 coin which slipped out of my pocket while sitting in the train. I was grateful for his honesty. At that time, I was new in Japan & didn't know that was the norm.

Sad to say (as an American) that if I dropped a $5 bill, it would never be returned.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I once got a call from the local koban saying that my two kids had found some money on their way to primary school and gone out of their way to hand it in to the police.

The cop asked me to say "Thank you" to them on behalf of himself and his colleagues, and encourage them to do the same in future.

Of course, when they got home that afternoon, my first question was "How much did you find?"

The answer: "Five yen." : )

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think it's more telling that these mothers felt safe leaving their small children alone at a bus stop. In other lands, you'd be arrested for doing that!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cash is nearly impossible to return. Its basically not worth the effort. However, I have to disagree with the idea that money dropped will not be returned to the owner in America. It WILL be returned a lot IF its clear who dropped it. If not, its not even likely the person who dropped it will go to the police or a lost and found to ask if their cash had turned up.

And one time in Japan a little girl found a 1000 yen note on the playground. She duly told the vice-principal and she never saw that money again. And that money never saw its owner again. So where did it go? I was basically told to forget about it. Yeah. Good old honest Japan!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That is why i decided to live in Japan forvthe rest of my life

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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