Fatima worked part-time evenings at Spring Hill Assisted Living Center, and she enjoyed her job as a nursing assistant helping the residents with their daily tasks. Unfortunately, she and her husband had financial problems because they didn’t earn enough money to cover their monthly expenses. The refrigerator was often almost empty as they waited for their next paychecks. Because they had paid the electric bill late a few times, they received a warning letter that their power would be shut off if they didn’t pay by the due date. Furthermore, their car payment was two months late, and they only had half of their rent saved.
One of Spring Hill’s residents was an elderly man from Russia. Because of dementia, Tomaz was very forgetful. He would put on one shoe and start walking without remembering to put on the other shoe. Sometimes, he began to walk to the cafeteria for a meal, forgot where he was going, and then returned to his room without dinner.
One day, when Fatima was putting clean clothes into Tomaz’s dresser, she saw a beautiful gold watch that she thought must be expensive. Having never seen Tomaz wear the watch, she figured he didn’t remember he owned it. Suddenly, Fatima got an idea. She could “borrow” the watch and sell it at the pawn shop downtown, and the money could help with her rent, car, and electric bills; then in a few months, when her financial situation was better, she would replace the watch and return it to the drawer in Tomaz’s dresser.
Nobody would know, and nobody would miss the watch, and the money would really help her and her husband. The idea seemed to make sense. Fatima thought about her plan all day and into the night. She knew it would work, and she knew it was clever. But she also knew something else.
It was wrong.
She wouldn’t risk her job or her values to pay her bills. In the end, she put the idea out of her mind and wondered how she ever considered doing something so dishonest.