City With a Heart of Gold

Say you were just walking along, humming a tune, watching the girls go by when you spot a cell phone sitting idly, unattended by anyone. Would you pick it up and try to track down the owner? If you were Slovenian you would. An international survey designed to test the honesty of urban citizens throughout the world recently gave the good people of Ljubljana top marks.

Reporters from Reader's Digest planted 960 'lost' cell phones in 30 public places in 32 cities around the world to test people's reactions in a cell phone honesty test. The phones were rung as people walked past to see if they would answer the phone, attempt to contact someone programmed into the phone, or simply pocket it. Of the 30 phones abandoned around Ljubljana, the smallest surveyed city, 29 were returned giving it the best percentage of any city surveyed. Toronto, Canada came in an admirable 2nd, with 28 of 30 phones recovered while the Asian cities of Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur revealed a darker side, tying for worst performance with only 13 of the 30 'lost' phones returned. Overall, however, the results were much more optimistic than expected, as most people in preliminary interviews predicted return rates would be in the single digits. All said, the average rate of return on the 'misplaced' cellies was 68%, with most cities averaging around 21 out of 30 phones returned. So if you're in Ljubljana and you want to get together with that blonde at the next table, save yourself the embarrassment of conversation and just absentmindedly leave your phone where she'll find it. Works 29 out of 30 times...


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It's not only that they were honest enough not to take something that didn't belong to them, but they were also good enough to take it and try looking for the owner. Cheers to Ljubljana from their neighborhood!

Reply Dec 15th, 2008

It's no wonder to me--Ljubljana is purportedly the 'safest capital in Europe,' after all!

Reply Aug 21st, 2007