More often than not I’m an honest person, and maybe a bit too honest at that. There are plenty of times where I can be thoroughly exhausted by form and diplomacy and simply spit out the thoughts in my head. Naturally, people get offended. Sometimes it’s rightfully so, and other times they’re just being too sensitive. It’s never the same reason every time, however I’m just too tired to care.
There are perks of being honest though. Much of my life has been filled with observations of cheating paying off, whether it’s cheating on tests, or a spouse (not my story to tell, but an interesting one nonetheless), what have you. There is a budding culture of “it’s not wrong, if you’re not caught.” I abhor this belief I see in my contemporaries. I’m not perfect, but I keep a good handle on things.
For example, yesterday included a trip to the bank. As I rolled up to the drive-through window, my eyes caught a glimpse of something flat, green, and rectangular. Backing up, I open the door to find a $20 bill lying on the ground. Being so close to the bank teller window, it’s obvious it was part of a transaction. No one would be out of their car to drop their purse or wallet. So, what do I do? I pick the money up and give it to the teller. I explained it was probably part of someone’s deposit.
With this information, she turns around to another teller. The speakers were off, and I couldn’t hear what she said to him. What I did see was the other teller frown and swipe the money from her hands and her laughing. I think I follow what happened only a few moments before my arrival. From the teller’s face, I could surmise there was a rather nasty dispute over the lost currency. It wouldn’t have been his fault, but people get nasty over money for some reason. 😉
Did I expect anything out of the deal? Nope. In fact, I knew I probably wouldn’t even get a thank you out of it. A rarity anymore is a mannered teller. However, I think I did find something of value in the whole ordeal. I righted a wrong. Not only did I spare him the headache of having to defend himself in the future, he has some vindication for when that person comes around next time. It’s a popular branch, and I think they’d be back. I don’t believe in karma, but this is a random act of kindness. This is the stuff I do, and it’s hard sometimes when it goes unnoticed. I suppose I won’t let it stop me from doing it in the future though.
So, would you pocket the money and not say a thing or would you hand it to the teller like I did? Twenty dollars will buy a nice dinner out with tip. It’s nothing to sneeze at. I can also hate the sin and not the sinner on this one, as it’s just part of my “control freakishness” (or so society declares :eye roll:). I’m not looking to browbeat anyone on this. I’m genuinely curious to see if others would keep it.
Nope – I would have done the same thing. The bad thing with cheating is the guilty conscience – it helps us keep to actions we are comfortable with.
It does, truly, and it’s what separates the good people from the sociopaths.
Agreed and from what I’ve read in the comments, you have a nice group of readers 🙂
Very much so, and I appreciate them reading what I have to say.
Honesty is the only policy. I only want what is rightfully mine And I am constantly looking for ways to give that away. For me, life is about making other people happy.
The biggest point I’ve tried to demonstrate in the last decade, or so, is that this is the way I would like to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule. It’s no different than the time I found a rather stocked wallet at a coffee house. Turns out it was a cop’s wallet he had left near the air pots. He thought that he’d get his wallet back, but he never thought it would still have his money left intact. They $10 finder’s fee I received was donated to the “Shop with a Cop” program (a program to buy Christmas toys for children who otherwise wouldn’t get them), as I really wanted nothing more than to have someone return my wallet in my time of forgetfulness.
You are absolutely right and I believe that is the secret to finding real piece in one’s life. Giving without expectation.
You’re a good man, Nate.
Thank you, Roger. 🙂
I do believe you reap what you sow. When I have given without asking for anything in return I know it will come back to me in another form. This is not my motivation for giving (or giving back what is not mine) though, I just view it as recycling the blessing that came my direction. Now if we can just get people to return their grocery carts to the corral
I used to bag groceries 15 years ago, and still remember retrieving carts in the dead of winter. No matter what I wore the cold found a way to pierce my clothes, and I can remember having to trek over a rather large parking lot to take the carts in people left behind. I also remember my knuckles cracking and bleeding from the weather and cardboard. People who leave them on concrete islands are the worst. That’s why I either put the cart in the corral or take it back in the store. It would have to be a highly pressing matter where I would ever think of leaving my shopping cart alone.
Of course I would give it back as well. It would feel dirty to have someone else’s money. We always inform clerks when they give us too much change, and they look at us like we’re crazy. When funds allow, we try to buy another table’s meal if we’re at a restaurant (not a large party) and tell the manager not to tell them who paid. We don’t get anywhere with the mindset that the world owes us something, or rationalizing that the $20 was placed in your path to benefit you financially. You passed a test, whether or not you perceive it that way, knowing integrity is doing what’s right when no one is looking. Don’t you feel good inside each time you do what’s right?
I’m not sure if “good” would be my personal word choice. It always seems more “satisfied” than anything. 🙂
How about “righteous”?
Nah, it’s more satisfied. I would be disappointed in myself otherwise.
In this instance, I would’ve given it to the teller. In a more nebulous instance, like finding it on an empty sidewalk, I would keep it.
I was actually at a bar a couple of months ago, and a twenty dropped out of a guy’s pocket as he was leaving, and I chased him to give it back.
I do that, too. It was at a grocery store, in my case, but there’s just something about wanting to be that honest that makes me do it.