Section: Questions Category: Money Matters
|Money Matters - Dropped Sandwich|
|Submitted by anonymous Answered by Rav Yehonoson Hool|
|Answer: It would seem from the story that the sandwich was dropped accidentally, though not in a way that could be described as unpreventable. As such, this would come under the category of "p'shi'ah" - recklessness. Had you taken due care, presumably it would not have fallen. Although you received no remuneration for doing the favour, you nonetheless are financially responsible in such a situation. (Shomer chinam chayav bepeshi'ah.)
Although Reuvain left a message allowing you to eat the sandwich, if he left the message after you had already dropped it, he didn't know at that moment that it was already ruined and that you owed him the value of it instead. Reuvain was not giving a gift, but rather he thought that since he would have no need for it, not being available to eat it , the sandwich would go to waste anyway so he might as well let you eat it. Had he known that there was no sandwich, there is no reason to assume that he wanted to gift you the value.
Thus it seems to me that you would have to pay - or at any rate, to inform Reuvain what happened and leave it up to him.