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Posts Tagged ‘law’

I’m starting to think that this city has too many law students.  Ok, I guess it makes sense since Washington is our government’s central nervous system.  But Molly was applying to law schools, Sarah from yesterday was in her third year of law school and today’s recipient is currently applying to law schools.

Matt and I were seated in the two chairs just under the Starbucks sign.

It was one of the coldest days of the year and my exposed face and hands were stinging from the frigid wind.  I ducked into a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee and warm up a little.  I sunk into a big comfy chair by the window and found myself sitting next to Matt; a young professional dressed in a sweatshirt over a t-shirt that had the Rolling Stones written on it.  He was buried in his computer until I interrupted his concentration.  “I’m applying to law schools,” he said in response to my question of what he was up to that evening.  “I am genuinely interested in philosophy and believe that laws serve as agents for social change.”  He told me that his interest to go to law school is similar to the interest expressed by Franz Kafka’s character Fräulein Bürstner in the

The Trial.  She says, “I am fascinated with court matters.  The court has a strange attraction, doesn’t it?”

We talked about the Year of Giving and how people react to my offer.  Matt told me about a study that measured people’s willingness to help based on them having recently found a small amount of money.  He later emailed me this:

According to one experiment conducted by Isen and Levin, experimenters looked for helping behavior in unaware subjects after they left a public phone-booth. Whether or not the individuals helped a person in need was found significantly influenced by whether or not one had just found a dime in the phone-booth. In the initial experiment, the results for the 41 subjects are as follows (Doris 2002, 30):

Found Dime: (14 exhibited helping behavior, 2 did not exhibit helping behavior)
Didn’t Find Dime: (1 exhibited helping behavior, 24 did not exhibit helping behavior)

These results suggest that morally significant behavior such as helping another in need depends largely on minute factors of the situation that are not in the control of the agent.”

I found this fascinating.  The fact that finding a dime could influence people’s behavior so much.  Here I’ve been giving ten spots away, when people apparently would have been happy just getting a dime.  It would have saved me $3,613.50 too!  

He told me about another study where if a subject was asked to donate money to a cause that they were much more likely to give if there was another person in the room.  Now here is the fascinating part.  The study also showed that the subjects were equally more likely to give if instead of the other person there was a poster of a robot prominently placed in the room.  Weird.  It’s like we do the “right thing” if we think others are watching.  Even robots…painted on a poster!  Interesting.

Matt is originally from Michigan and plans to be here for about two years until he leaves for law school.  “I like DC but I think I am going to go someplace else,” he told me.  

The 24-year-old works for the government right now and preferred that I not use his last initial or be photographed.  Hmmm.  CIA?  Who knows?  He was a nice guy though, smart too.  I enjoyed chatting with him.

In his follow-up email to me he told me that he gave his $10 to a guy who plays trumpet in the morning near the World Bank offices at 18th and G or K Streets.  “He’s got a good heart,” he went on to write.  My ex-girlfriend used to always talk about this guy.  I went looking for him one morning but I couldn’t find him.  Maybe I will try to find him in these remaining 9 days.

Matt inspired me to do something too.  He suggested I try to go talk to Arlen again.  “Give her a second chance,” he suggested.  I have seen her from time to time but have never talked to her again since our meeting when she was bitter and confused.  I will try to approach her again.  Thanks Matt for the encouragement.

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Day 338 – Sarah B.

I’m 10 days away from the 365th recipient.  It’s hard to believe.  I have met so many amazing individuals through my daily giving as well as through the blog.  Letters and comments have poured in day after day giving me telling me how my story has inspired them in some way and offering encouragement to me to make it to the end.  That day is now in sight and I find myself reflecting a lot upon the last 12 months.  For those of you in the DC area, I hope you will join me on December 14th at Tabaq Bistro which has been so generous in helping make the year-end celebration possible.  The festivities get started at 6:30pm.

Sarah was worried her bangs were too short. I told her they looked fine...then again I'm not exactly a fashion expert.

Today I thought I would share with you a second recipient: Sarah.  I met her walking up 20th Street in DC.  She said she also lived in Dupont and we shared the next eight blocks together.  “I got my hair cut today,” she told me beaming.  “I go to a guy named William who works at Ava Salon on Capitol Hill.”  She adjusted her blue scarf so as to keep herself a little warmer, “I left my coat at happy hour…I might have had one too many!”

Sarah is a third-year law student at George Washington University.  Her anticipated graduation date is May 11 and after that she said she would like to find a job with the US government.  “I had an interview recently with a judge in Alaska, but I turned that down – it’s just too far away.”  She said she really enjoyed contract law, “and the government has contracts for everything.”  Then her mind must have slipped back a few hours to happy hour, “maybe I could practice wine law?”  Sounds interesting.

She wasn’t sure what she was going to do with the money.  “If this was money I had earned through work,” she started to say, “I’d probably just use it on food , maybe buy lunch with it, but since this came in such a unique and unexpected way, I feel as if I should do something different with it.”  I followed up with her this week but haven’t heard from her yet.

I have some other notes that say something about blue grass music and fiddles…but like so many other times, I can’t read my scribbles weeks later when I write up the blogs!

That's the Brewmasters' Castle in the background.

Sarah was so nice.  She is one of so many people that I have met through the Year of Giving who I’d like to be able to call my friend.  And we’re practically neighbors.  She lives a block or two away.

Sarah will be missing the year-end celebration unless she changes her holiday travel plans.  She’s got a ticket to Houston, TX on the 13th.

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