A couple of months ago, one of my players asked me to hold his class ring during practice. Players often do that; it's usually not rings, but sometimes it's cell phones, or keys, or something else. I put it in my bag and didn't think anything else of it.
The player didn't ask for his ring back after practice. And I forgot about it. A few weeks later, the kid failed off the team. I don't even have a failing-off conversation with him, as he just left his uniform with another player and I don't often run into him. I like the kid, but I'm not particularly close with him, and I kept him on the team hoping that I'd be able to get through to him somehow; as for baseball abilities, he'd picked up his first baseball glove at 17.
About a week ago, he came up to me in the hallway and said, "Hey, _______, you still have my ring?"
I didn't remember anything differently, so I said, "Yeah, I guess so. It's gotta still be in my bag."
Well, you guessed it, the ring isn't in my bag. I don't remember giving it back to him, and I don't think he's taking me for a ride. But the ring is $450.
My first instinct was, "Dang, I guess I've got to pay for that whole thing." Then, I got another opinion from a colleague and another player, who both said that no way I was responsibile, that kids assume risks by giving me things, and that I only agreed to hold onto it for practice, not for weeks afterwards. He forgot to ask for it back, so it's his fault more than anyone else's.
Tonight, the young man's mother called me. She's cordial, but it's very clear she wants me to pay for the ring, the whole thing.
As for me, I'm no longer sure. One issue is certainly ability to pay. I have three more paychecks before the summer, and not quite enough money to make it through the summer as it is (putting a downpayment on my house was the priority with my summer money, though I'm hoping to amend my taxes and get the tax credit soon). Paying for the ring would take quite a bit of saving, and I just couldn't do it before the summer.
I do feel guilty about it and want to do the right thing. I just don't want to be taken for a ride in the process. I think I'm going to talk with my principal about it tomorrow.
I'm still holding onto shreds of hope that it will turn up as I unpack things. I did just move, after all.
UPDATE: I FOUND IT! MOMENTS AFTER POSTING! IN MY JACKET POCKET! A JACKET THAT I WEAR FAIRLY OFTEN, SO I'M BLESSED IT DIDN'T FALL OUT SOMETIME IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS! (At least it got me blogging again.)
[I am kind of curious, especially now that it's over with, about whether you all think I would have had to pay all $425 to replace it. Legally Required vs. Ethically required?)
2 years ago