Turnabout is fair play?

Do two wrongs make a right?

Anthony in New York City asks:

A food-delivery person who couldn’t find a spot on a pole chained his bike directly to mine instead. I only had an hour for lunch, so when he didn’t return after a few minutes, I removed my chain and locked both our bikes to the pole. Then I walked to lunch instead of cycling. When I returned, I freed both bikes. He was predictably upset. Was my instinct to teach a lesson unethical?

The Ethicist responds.

Via Jenny Oh.


  1. That’s the response I would have given. The delivery person is probably angry and not in a mode where he is receptive to education on what he did and how it was wrong (whether directed to him implicitly, like through the original bicyclist’s act, or explicitly, through a verbal discussion with the original bicyclist). 

  2. I think in this case Anthony (hopefully not Tony Baloney) did the right thing. It simple manners not to prohibit someone else from being able to remove their bike. Some people only learn lessons the hard way.

  3. …as someone else suggested – “let the air out of his tires & wait for him” ???…

    …i’m not sayin’, i’m just sayin’…

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