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Homeless Man in Credit Card Honesty (15th August, 2010)


 

A homeless man in New York has repaid the trust paid in him by a woman who gave him her credit card. Jay Valentine, 32, was standing on a Manhattan street asking for small change when Merrie Harris, 45, lent him her Platinum AmEx card. Onlookers were shocked to see the woman hand it over and walk off. Valentine said he bought deodorant, body wash, a pack of cigarettes and bottled water, all costing about $25. A short time later, he went back to the restaurant where Ms Harris was eating to return the card to her. For his efforts, he was awarded the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City. Valentine also received an offer from a New York-based airline to apply to be a flight attendant and $5,000 from an anonymous Texan.

Ms Harris, an advertising executive, was also applauded for her act of generosity and trust. She told reporters she never doubted Mr Valentine would do anything dishonest with her card, saying: "What he did was no surprise to me.” She asked: “Are we only supposed to trust people we know?” Valentine said he never thought about abusing Harris’ trust in him: "I wasn't tempted at all. She trusted me, and I didn't want to violate that trust," he said. He added: "It sets a good example that people in need – like me - can and should be trusted." What is now in question is the security procedures of the store Valentine shopped in. Staff obviously did not check his signature or look at the photo id on the AmEx card.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. HONESTY: Walk around the class and talk to other students about honesty. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

homeless / credit card / small change / lending money / honest / flight attendant / applauded / generosity / trust / doubt / a good example / security / signature

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. TRUST: What trustworthy things have you done? Complete this table and show it to your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

Trust with…

Trustworthy act

Parent

 

Best friend

 

Teacher

 

Stranger

 

Neighbour

 

Myself

 

4. DISHONESTY: Students A strongly believe dishonesty is something that will disappear from humans one day; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. TRUSTWORTHY: Who’s the most? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the most trustworthy at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • Best friend
  • Teacher
  • Doctor
  • Country leader
  • Biggest hero
  • Police officer
  • Sales assistant
  • Parent

6. GENEROUS: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘generous’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

A woman lent a homeless man her American Express credit card.

T / F

b.

The man bought a few expensive items and then returned the card.

T / F

c.

The man received an award for his honesty.

T / F

d.

The man got a job offer from an American airline.

T / F

e.

The woman was a little suspicious she would never see her card again.

T / F

f.

The woman suggested we should trust people more, even strangers.

T / F

g.

The man said not all needy people can or should be trusted.

T / F

h.

Staff in the shop did not properly check the man’s signature.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

homeless

a.

kindness

2

small change

b.

given

3.

onlookers

c.

nameless

4.

awarded

d.

identification

5.

anonymous

e.

clapped

6.

applauded

f.

coins

7.

generosity

g.

methods

8.

violate

h.

passers-by

9.

procedures

i.

break

10.

id

j.

vagrant

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

repaid the trust

a.

and walk off

2

Merrie Harris, 45, lent

b.

at all

3.

hand it over

c.

an anonymous Texan

4.

received

d.

act of generosity

5.

$5,000 from

e.

paid in him

6.

applauded for her

f.

no surprise to me

7.

she never doubted Valentine would

g.

security procedures of the store

8.

What he did was

h.

him her Platinum AmEx card

9.

I wasn't tempted

i.

an offer

10.

now in question is the

j.

do anything dishonest

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

A homeless man in New York has ____________ the trust paid in him by a woman who gave him her credit card. Jay Valentine, 32, was standing on a Manhattan street asking for ____________ change when Merrie Harris, 45, lent him her Platinum AmEx card. Onlookers were shocked to see the woman ____________ it over and walk off. Valentine said he bought deodorant, body wash, a ____________ of cigarettes and bottled water, all costing about $25. A ____________ time later, he went back to the restaurant where Ms Harris was eating to return the card to her. For his ____________, he was awarded the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City. Valentine also received an ____________ from a New York-based airline to ____________ to be a flight attendant and $5,000 from an anonymous Texan.

 

 

 

short
hand
offer
repaid
apply
efforts
small
pack

Ms Harris, an advertising executive, was also ____________ for her act of generosity and ____________. She told reporters she never doubted Mr Valentine would do anything ____________ with her card, saying: "What he did was no surprise to me.” She asked: “Are we only supposed to trust people we know?” Valentine said he never thought about ____________ Harris’ trust in him: "I wasn't tempted at all. She trusted me, and I didn't want to ____________ that trust," he said. He added: "It ____________ a good example that people in need – like me - can and should be trusted." What is now in question is the ____________ procedures of the store Valentine shopped in. Staff obviously did not ____________ his signature or look at the photo id on the AmEx card.

 

 

abusing
security
dishonest
check
applauded
sets
trust
violate

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

A homeless man in New York has ________________________ him by a woman who gave him her credit card. Jay Valentine, 32, was standing on a Manhattan street ________________________ when Merrie Harris, 45, lent him her Platinum AmEx card. ________________________ see the woman hand it over and walk off. Valentine said he bought deodorant, body wash, a pack of cigarettes and bottled water, ________________________. A short time later, he went back to the restaurant where Ms Harris was eating to return the card to her. ________________________ awarded the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City. Valentine also received an offer from a New York-based airline to apply to be a flight attendant and $5,000 ________________________ Texan.

Ms Harris, an advertising executive, was also ________________________ generosity and trust. She told reporters she never doubted Mr Valentine would do anything dishonest with her card, saying: "What he did ________________________.” She asked: “Are we only supposed to trust people we know?” Valentine said he ________________________ Harris’ trust in him: "I wasn't tempted at all. She trusted me, and I didn't ________________________," he said. He added: "It sets a good example that people in need – like me - can and should be trusted." What is ________________________ procedures of the store Valentine shopped in. Staff obviously did not ________________________ look at the photo id on the AmEx card.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘credit’ and ‘card’.

credit

card

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • repaid
  • change
  • hand
  • pack
  • efforts
  • apply
  • act
  • surprise
  • supposed
  • tempted
  • example
  • id

STUDENT HONESTY SURVEY

From  http://www.BreakingNewsEnglish.com/1008/100815-honesty.html

Write five GOOD questions about honesty in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

HONESTY DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘honesty’?

c)

How honest are you?

d)

What do you think of Merrie Harris?

e)

Who would you lend your credit card to?

f)

If someone gave you their credit card and an hour to buy anything, where would you go shopping and what would you buy?

g)

Do honest people get further ahead in life than dishonest people?

h)

What’s the moral of this story?

i)

How do you think Mr Valentine’s life will change from now?

j)

What would Mr Valentine and Ms Harris say to each other if they met?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What’s the biggest example of your own honesty?

c)

How many really generous people do you know?

d)

Which people in your life do you trust?

e)

Should we always trust people we don’t know?

f)

Does Ms Harris’ act set a good example?

g)

Have you ever abused anyone’s trust?

h)

When was the last time you were dishonest?

i)

Should the staff that served Mr Valentine be spoken to about allowing someone to use another person’s credit card?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Ms Harris and Mr Valentine?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

A homeless man in New York has (1) ____ the trust paid in him by a woman who gave him her credit card. Jay Valentine, 32, was standing on a Manhattan street asking for small (2) ____ when Merrie Harris, 45, lent him her Platinum AmEx card. Onlookers were shocked to see the woman (3) ____ it over and walk off. Valentine said he bought deodorant, body wash, a pack of cigarettes and bottled water, all (4) ____ about $25. A short time later, he went back to the restaurant where Ms Harris was eating to return the card to her. For his (5) ____, he was awarded the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City. Valentine also received an offer from a New York-based airline to apply to be a flight attendant and $5,000 from an     (6) ____ Texan.

Ms Harris, an advertising executive, was also (7) ____ for her act of generosity and trust. She told reporters she never doubted Mr Valentine would do anything dishonest with her card, saying: "What he did was (8) ____ surprise to me.” She asked: “Are we only supposed to trust people we know?” Valentine said he never thought about abusing Harris’ trust (9) ____ him: "I wasn't tempted at all. She trusted me, and I didn't want to violate that trust," he said. He added: "It         (10) ____ a good example that people in need – like me - can and should be trusted." What is now (11) ____ question is the security procedures of the store Valentine shopped in. Staff (12) ____ did not check his signature or look at the photo id on the AmEx card.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

paid

(b)

plaid

(c)

replayed

(d)

repaid

2.

(a)

changes

(b)

changing

(c)

change

(d)

charge

3.

(a)

head

(b)

hand

(c)

leg

(d)

knee

4.

(a)

costing

(b)

costed

(c)

cost

(d)

costs

5.

(a)

effects

(b)

affords

(c)

efforts

(d)

affects

6.

(a)

anonymously

(b)

anon

(c)

anonymity

(d)

anonymous

7.

(a)

applause

(b)

applauded

(c)

applied

(d)

appliance

8.

(a)

no

(b)

not

(c)

non

(d)

nor

9.

(a)

by

(b)

in

(c)

on

(d)

at

10.

(a)

lets

(b)

nets

(c)

sets

(d)

bets

11.

(a)

in

(b)

an

(c)

on

(d)

un-

12.

(a)

enviously

(b)

furiously

(c)

compulsively

(d)

obviously

WRITING

Write about honesty for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. HONESTY: Make a poster about honesty. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. MR VALENTINE: Write a magazine article about Mr Valentine. Include imaginary interviews with him and Ms Harris.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Ms Harris. Ask her three questions about honesty. Give her three of your opinions on trust. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

F

c.

T

d.

T

e.

F

f.

T

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

homeless

a.

vagrant

2

small change

b.

coins

3.

onlookers

c.

passers-by

4.

awarded

d.

given

5.

anonymous

e.

nameless

6.

applauded

f.

clapped

7.

generosity

g.

kindness

8.

violate

h.

break

9.

procedures

i.

methods

10.

id

j.

identification

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

repaid the trust

a.

paid in him

2

Merrie Harris, 45, lent

b.

him her Platinum AmEx card

3.

hand it over

c.

and walk off

4.

received

d.

an offer

5.

$5,000 from

e.

an anonymous Texan

6.

applauded for her

f.

act of generosity

7.

she never doubted Valentine would

g.

do anything dishonest

8.

What he did was

h.

no surprise to me

9.

I wasn't tempted

i.

at all

10.

now in question is the

j.

security procedures of the store

GAP FILL:

Homeless man in credit card honesty

A homeless man in New York has repaid the trust paid in him by a woman who gave him her credit card. Jay Valentine, 32, was standing on a Manhattan street asking for small change when Merrie Harris, 45, lent him her Platinum AmEx card. Onlookers were shocked to see the woman hand it over and walk off. Valentine said he bought deodorant, body wash, a pack of cigarettes and bottled water, all costing about $25. A short time later, he went back to the restaurant where Ms Harris was eating to return the card to her. For his efforts, he was awarded the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City. Valentine also received an offer from a New York-based airline to apply to be a flight attendant and $5,000 from an anonymous Texan.

Ms Harris, an advertising executive, was also applauded for her act of generosity and trust. She told reporters she never doubted Mr Valentine would do anything dishonest with her card, saying: "What he did was no surprise to me.” She asked: “Are we only supposed to trust people we know?” Valentine said he never thought about abusing Harris’ trust in him: "I wasn't tempted at all. She trusted me, and I didn't want to violate that trust," he said. He added: "It sets a good example that people in need – like me - can and should be trusted." What is now in question is the security procedures of the store Valentine shopped in. Staff obviously did not check his signature or look at the photo id on the AmEx card.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 - c

11 - a

12 - d

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