This is one of the great stories in Robert Fulgham’s exceptionally wise and thought-generating book, All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten
Here’s a phrase we hear a lot: “You can’t trust anybody anymore.” Doctors and politicians and merchants and salesman, they’re all out to rip you off, right?
It isn’t necessarily so.
Man named Steven Brill tested the theory. In New York city, with taxicab drivers. Brill posed as a well-to-do foreigner with little knowledge of English. He got in to several dozen taxis around New York City to see how many drivers would cheat him. His friends predicted in advance that most would take advantage of him in some way.
One driver out of thirty-seven cheated him. The rest took him directly to his destination and charged him correctly. Several refused to take him when his destination was only a block or two away, even getting out of their cabs to show him how close he already was. The greatest irony of all was that several drivers warned him that New York City was full of crooks and to be careful.
You will continue to read stories of crookedness and corruption – of police men who lie and steal, doctors who reap where they do not sew, politicians on the take. Don’t be misled. they are news because they are the exceptions. The evidence suggests that you can trust a lot more people than you think. The evidence suggests that a lot of people believe that. A recent survey by Gallup indicates that 70 percent of the people believe that most people can be trusted most of the time.
Who says people are no damn good? What kind of talk is that?