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For the most part, Japanese society stresses being considerate and courteous. 99 times out of 100, that makes Japan a great place to live, but in certain situations those virtues can be taken to such extremes they actually end up contrary to their original sentiments. For example, part of being courteous is not bothering others, but as I’ve talked about before, in rare instances that bit of well-meaning deference can get warped into not getting involved in other people’s affairs even when they’re clearly in a quandary.

But while adults sometime stumble while walking the tightrope between forcing unasked for assistance on someone and helping those in need, what about children? That’s the question posed in this video showing a group of kids reacting to a stranger dropping his or her wallet at the bus stop, and the outcome just might restore a bit of your faith in humanity.

The video comes from the Japan Red Cross Society, and is part of its Cross Now! initiative. The campaign’s goal is to create greater awareness of the way our interactions with others, especially those we have the power to help, shape our communities, societies, and world.

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Titled Can You Do the Right Thing?, the video shows the same scenario being repeated with different children. We see a group of people already waiting at the Aka Renga Warehouse East bus stop in Yokohama’s harbor district. Just as a mother arrives with her child, she says she has to step away for a moment, and tells her son or daughter to wait there for her.

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A few moments later, after Mom is out of sight and no longer in a position to give instructions, one of the other adults waiting for the bus “accidentally” drops his or her wallet, which falls right in front of the child. Each of the kids notices right away, but without a parent or other adult telling them what to do, will they take the initiative to return the wallet, or at least speak up and let the owner know it was dropped? Watch and find out.

Initially, some of the kids seem monetarily paralyzed with shy nervousness. One little girl murmurs “Your wallet fell” in a shy voice not much louder than a whisper. Later, we see a boy go so far as to pick the wallet up, but all he can manage to say is, “Ummm…” before timidly placing it back on the ground.

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In the end, though, all of the tykes persevere, summoning their courage and not giving up until they’ve got the owner’s attention and the wallet is back where it belongs. One awesome little guy picks up the wallet less than a second after it hits the pavement, and immediately hands it over.

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So wait, if every kid passed with flying colors why did I say this might restore your faith in humanity? Well, the Red Cross doesn’t specifically state one way or another whether this was an actual hidden camera social experiment, or simply a scripted recreation of how things should go if we’re all looking out for one another. Still, I’d like to think these were honest reactions by genuinely thoughtful and helpful kids who didn’t know they were being watched and tested, especially since the video seems to present them as living in the same city of Japan as I do.

▼ Great job, kids! Oh, and if any of you ever happen to come across my wallet, please return it to the RocketNews24 office, OK?

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Related: Cross Now!
Source, images: YouTube/JapaneseRedCrossPR