Rewarding information

It seems that things worth considering frequently pop up in T.T.C. vehicles; this is just one of my many reasons for enjoying most public transport modes.

I noticed this sign while travelling down Toronto’s Green Line, and was prompted to wonder why it would have been placed here to begin with.  Isn’t it relatively obvious that if one observes a potential hazard to public safety, one should report it?  I remember asking myself.

But why?  something within me challenged.  What’s in it for me?

I’ve since been reflecting upon this.  Indeed, what – besides the knowledge that one has perhaps aided others – could motivate a person to contribute information?  Despite the importance of altruism, it’s difficult to claim that people who decide whether or not to act primarily by weighing the compensation they’ll receive are rare.

If we truly want a larger percentage of the public to file potentially life-saving tips and alerts, then it is important, I think, to in some way grant greater recognition to those trying to aid public servants in salvaging situations.  Certainly, if one successfully prevents another individual from, say, suicide by calling the authorities, then one may be hailed as a hero.  But I don’t recall reading “Although the victim could not be delivered to the hospital on time, Mr. X’s call, as well as his attempt to persuade her to avoid jumping, was greatly appreciated” anywhere in the papers.  I understand that distributing such recognition could be quite difficult, but perhaps more thought could be devoted to something like this.

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This entry was posted in On Humanity: Events, Policy, Ethics. Bookmark the permalink.

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