Ethics Hero: Guess Who!
If the great
Paul Harvey were telling this Ethics Hero story, it might go something like
The man distinguished-looking, gray-haired
man with the dapper moustache felt badly. He hated to be irresponsible
more than anything. He was a military man, a former Air Force fighter
pilot, trained for combat .He knew about obligations and duty. But he
had borrowed a book from the Danville Library, requiring an interlibrary
loan from Fresno State, and failed to return it on time. And now the book
was not only overdue, he was embarrassed to have to admit, but also probably
The man called the librarians to apologize,
and said that he would replace the book. Where was it? Oh, the man knew
the answer to that question. The book was in the cargo hold of the US
Airways plane that had made a dramatic emergency landing in New York's
Hudson River. He doubted that its pages would still be readable when and
if the book was recovered from the icy waters.
The librarians at Fresno state were not
push-overs for excuses from irresponsible book-borrowers, not at all.
They had heard every excuse imaginable through the years. And few stories
were as unlikely as this one. But this book-borrower wasn’t making an
excuse, just explaining how he came to be unable to return their book.
The Fresno State librarians were so impressed with his honesty and sense
of accountability that they waived all fines, and even the reimbursement
fee for the lost tome. Who was this man whose forthright character inspired
the steely-eyed librarians to be merciful?
His name was Captain Chesley "Sully"
Sullenberger, the skilled and courageous pilot who landed that U.S. Air
passenger plane safely in the river after it had lost both engines colliding
with a flock of Canada geese. One-hundred and fifty-five passengers owe
him their lives, but he couldn’t save his borrowed library book. He was
still responsible for it, you see, and even while he was being praised
and honored all across the great land, Captain Sullenberger wasn’t going
to forget about that book. And it’s easy to understand why.
“Professional Ethics,” of course.
And there you have…the rest of the story!