I Found a Wallet! Now What? | WBEZ
Skip to main content

Here and Now

I Found A Wallet! Now What?

What do you do when you find a wallet lying on the street? The simple answer is to get it back in the right hands, but actually making that happen can prove complicated.

You could give it to the police, but sometimes – especially in a big city – a lost wallet could get buried under other work. You could try to find the owner of the wallet on social media, but what if the person has a common name?

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson recounts his own experience finding a wallet and explores the ethical and practical questions that followed with ethicist Ruth Chang.

According to Chang, we have a basic moral obligation to attempt to return the wallet to the individual, but there is a point at which that effort goes above and beyond the call of duty.

“The question becomes how much effort should you have to go through to return it to him,” Chang said.


  • Ruth Chang, professor of philosophy at Rutgers University.
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.