“No one will ever know.” Those are the first words that came to mind after I realized that a clerk had made a mistake adding up my purchases. It was a great deal on long sleeve t-shirts. The cool thing is that a few days earlier I told my wife that I wanted long sleeve t-shirts…just plain with no logos, writing, or pictures on them. Well, I found what I wanted. The best part about this find is that the shirts were on sale for $4 a piece and to top it off, I had a $10 off gift card that I could use on any purchase. I laid my five (5) t-shirts on the counter and waited for the clerk to ring me up. The total came to $7.34! WOW! What a deal! Five shirts for only $7.34! That is amazing!
My wife and I left the store and just as we stepped out onto the curb heading towards our car, I thought to myself that something didn’t seem quite right about the purchase. The purchase should have costed at least $10, but I only paid $7.34. A quick re-calculation and I discovered that the clerk only charged me for four shirts instead of five. What the heck, no one will ever know that she missed one. I could have a “free” shirt. It’s not like I stole it, it was her mistake – not mine. But, I knew what the right thing was to do, besides, I didn’t want her register to come up short. Wait…it won’t come up short because she never charged me for that shirt. Again, no one will ever know. Just keep it and keep quiet.
For a second, that’s exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I should make it right. I went back into the store, stood in a long Christmas line and waited my turn to speak with the same cashier. I let her know that she had missed one of my shirts and that I wanted to pay for it so that she didn’t get into any trouble. That is exactly what we did.
Why am I sharing this with you? I believe that there are moments in life which help to define us. What we do in those moments tell us exactly what we stand for and whose side we are standing on. Those moments tell us what limits we are willing to go to in order to have the things that we want. They tell us what we value most in life.
What I believe this moment has taught me is that I am standing on the side of good, right, and Godliness. That moment taught me that you can teach old dogs new tricks. That moment showed me that I value people and a good reputation. That singular moment taught me that I am capable of love and compassion, that I will not compromise even if no one will ever know.