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Disturbed at Offer of Small Reward

July 09, 1987

I represent now and have in the past represented restaurant owners, and, because of that, I believe I have some idea as to how they would feel about the loss of any given day's receipts. Candidly, I am amazed at El Bracero's cavalier and penurious "reward" of a free meal (most certainly at no more than at its cost) to the three young women who returned its $1,500 bank deposit (June 6).

Granted, that a person who finds a lost but returnable property commits theft if he or she keeps the property. On the other hand, any finder of lost property becomes a "depositary for hire" who is entitled to "half a month's hire" for storage or safekeeping of the property for any fraction of time that is less than half a month.

Now, most certainly, no person or business is under any obligation to give rewards. Conversely, good conscience was the only realistic obligation on the part of these three young ladies to return the $1,500 they found. (I have daughters about their age and would expect my girls to do likewise.) I am proud to share Valley residency with these women.

It has been said that virtue is its own reward. In our society, however, something more than approximately 0.5% of the value of the recovered (and probably uninsured) loss would seem to be appropriate.

I am perturbed by the restaurant's minimal reaction to an extremely unusual and spiritually refreshing act of honesty.

FRANK BACON

Toluca Lake

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