While in high school, my friends and I held a big party to celebrate John, one of our friends who had won a scholarship to study in Australia. During the party some students engaged in excessive drinking. Some of us spent at the party till the following morning while John and a few others decided to drive through the night to a nearby nightclub to wind up the night. The following morning John called me and asked me to say that he had spent the night at the party in case anyone asked about it. He told me that he had been spotted by Sheriffs driving recklessly on the highway but got away to avoid trouble. Just a day before he left the country, two detectives came and questioned me regarding the events at the party and where John and other friends had spent the night. According to the detectives, on the night of the party, some teenagers were spotted speeding on the highway and officers believed they were driving under the influence. I was surprised and reflected what John had asked me to do. I knew very well John did not spend the night with us, but considering the situation it was serious. I was scared and maintained that John did not leave the party that night.
In this situation, I realized that had I not lied for John, he would have been arrested and charged with DUI and reckless driving. This would have ruined his future his scholarship would have been cancelled altogether. On the other hand I realized that it was a crime to drive under the influence as it risks one`s life and that of others. According to the detectives, the speeding vehicle scared most road users who had to stop or park their cars by the road side to avoid causing an accident. Since I lied, John did continue with his plans, he travelled and he is pursuing his Degree in Business in a reputable university abroad. On the other hand, justice was not served john did not pay for his crime.
Making this decision was very difficult for me. I had to weigh both sides of the situation. John being my friend had a future ahead of him if he continued with his studies. On the other hand, his behavior placed so many people`s lives at risk although he did not harm anyone after all. John on the other hand would be convict and probably put behind bars for some time if I told the truth. This would make him lose his future. Nevertheless, I continue feeling guilty wherever I remember the incidence.
From this experience I have come out wiser in terms of ethics. I understand that what I did was unethical. I did not respect my values of integrity and responsibility. I am a person who believes in taking responsibilities and being honest. Whatever I did at the time is also contrary to my Christian beliefs. I should have told the truth for justice to be served. John would have taken responsibility for his mistake. The concept of virtue ethics is probably what should have guided me in making the decision. Virtue ethics compels us to do what is right in regard to our values, principles or beliefs.