Honesty Really Is The Best Policy
When do you choose to be honest? Only when you are being observed—or when it's proper?
I made my $350 withdrawal at our bank, went on another errand and then returned home about a half hour later, when I found a message waiting for me from the bank I had just visited.
I immediately called the number I was given. The bank teller informed me that she was the one I had just done business with and gave me $100 more than what she should have. I told her I had just gotten home and hadn't checked my withdrawals, which I usually do when the teller gives me what I had requested. But apparently our brief conversation was a distracting influence.
Sure enough, there were five extra twenties, $100 more than the $350.
This had never happened before. Now what do I do? Do I enjoy the extra money and go on a trip, or do I admit having it?
Wait a minute, I said. I'm not dealing with an impersonal bank that could very well afford losing $100, but with a young teller who has been on the job only a short while. If I don't admit having the extra money that doesn't belong to me, this teller would have to make up for it or maybe even lose her job. I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone, old, young or whatever. This goes against what I've believed in for ages.
What's with all these pros and cons nonsense? I asked myself. The issue is not age, time or the job but honesty, which is far more important.
Right after realizing I had in my possession $100 more than I deserved, I agreed that it would not only be just but it would make the teller very happy and maybe save her job if I returned the money.
This was my first wish. All the other stuff came after.
Would you believe it, two days later I was tested again on honesty but it was a much smaller matter involving only $5.
I went to our neighborhood butcher and bought one pound of baloney. The charge was $7 a pound. A really tasty cold cut. I gave the butcher $10 and waited for the change.
On the counter in front of me I noticed $5 all by itself. I looked about the huge store and realized I was the only customer. I bent over and picked up the fiver. No doubt the person who dropped it was by now in his or her car.
When the butcher returned the change, I told him what I had found.
"Hey, if you found it and nobody claims it, it's all yours, Buster."
Gamblers who are on a winning streak often say "I'm on a roll."
Well, I'm no gambler, but I believe I'm on a[n] honest roll and vow to stay on it.
John Favicchio a Flushing resident, frequently contributes to the Gazette's Op- Ed page.