In response to my post "Slogging away like an old dog" this is what a regular visitor to my blog Snowy Beagle has to say:
Sounds very much like a re-telling of the Parable of the Shrewd Manager (or Parable of the Dishonest/Unjust Steward) from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 16, verses 1-14.
I am not saying the generous monetary tips from Ken were from dishonest gains, but its amount would have raised a red flags to auditors.
Some years back, I attended a corporate course on Fraud Detection and one of the suspicious signs in the behaviour of someone with dishonest gains is unwarranted or disproportionate "generosity".
Whether the suspect has visible means of income supporting such levels of generosity is secondary - if without, then it is additional cause.
Even if the person is wealthy through his own means or through generosity of wealthier benefactor, and is generous by nature, the level of generosity should be rationally proportionate to the event and to the relationship.
For example, Richard Branson and the Sultan of Brunei are well known to be rich, hospital and gracious, lavishing generous tips that can run into thousands of dollars. But their level of wealth is into billions, not *merely* multi-millions.
The Fraud Detection course instructor gave some psychological insight into the mind of a fraud perpetrator - with so much sudden money that exceeded his immediate needs and wants, such a culprit has a tendency to "share the blessing" with others, subconsciously seeking to mitigate any feelings of guilt or to assuage his conscience.
I am not dissuading CC from accepting generous tips and hospitality from pax - certainly most work hard to deliver good service regardless of whether the pax is from P, J or Y.
And I'm certainly not asking CC to look with suspicion to anyone who is lavishly generous but is not a Richard Branson.
At the end of the day, those of us who work hard to earn an honest living understand what it really means to earn that dollar - and we exercise a reasonable level of prudence commensurating how hard it took us to earn that money.
We will be careful with how much money we give as allowance or gifts to our children when they have not had the experience of earning their own money yet - because we do not want them to learn the wrong lesson and cheapen the value of money.
The same principle usually applies even to wealthy people when giving gifts of cash to others.
It was possible that Ken had just made a killing of millions of dollars in profits when he tipped thousands of pounds to the crew - that was understandable, but it would have been a special, not regular, occasion.
Over the years, I've heard stories even among CC who had windfall through either dishonest means or providing sex to rich pax - and how they "spread" some of that windfall to fellow colleagues in the form of expensive gifts or treats.
It will take extraordinary self-control and moral strength for someone to even question the source of, much less to turn down, lavish gifts that should have seemed disproportionate to the occassion or relationship.
A newbie CC may be unused to the genuine generosity of the many Richard Bransons that fly with SIA, and may even feel uncomfortable with receiving cash gifts (PS : most large companies have anti-corruption rules against staff accepting gifts of significant worth from customers, suppliers, vendors etc.)
But this can quickly wear off and be taken for granted even before the second year of service.
What is more important is not to allow our own conscience be moved even when the environment we live and work in changes.
Most of the time, we will not get into trouble with the Law for unwittingly accepting gifts which had been dishonestly obtained. Most of the time.
But there is no escaping Cause and Effect, some call it Karma, some call it Divine Justice.
We may see our own children and grandchildren following our footsteps and they may not be able to evade the consequences which we ourselves have been spared - out of sheer luck or something else.