I know, I know, two thoughts in the same day? What madness! What insanity! What in the heck is the Rural Iowegian’s water?
I want to ask you, how big does doing the right thing have to be with you before you do it? Is there a threshold that has to be passed before doing the right thing becomes the moral thing to do? Is there a formula that you run in your head to decide whether or not doing the right thing is time effective for you?
The reason I ask is I seem to be caught up in doing the right thing no matter how trivial it is and the responses I get seem to confuse (is that the right word?) me.
Yesterday I went to get gas for the lawn mower. I have a little 1 1/2 gallon tank for the mower. Anyway, after pumping $3.63 in gas into the tank, I went inside to pay for it. I handed the convenience store clerk a $20 bill and in my head I already knew I should get $16.37 back. Anyway, I got my change and heard him tell me how much it was and went out the door. I wasn’t really paying attention as I thought how fun mowing in this heat and humidity was going to be. As I climbed back in the truck, it hit me. The guy had said my change was $16.63. I took the money out of my pocket and checked, sure enough he gave me 26¢ too much. I got back out of the truck and went back inside. There was a line so I patiently waited my turn and then told him he gave me the wrong change. At that point I gave him the 26¢ back. He told me that he would not have gone out his way to return a measly 26 pennies. I replied with a smile that it wasn’t my money and therefore needed to return it, maybe not for him, but definitely for me.
So, was it worth my time to return two coins to a store once I realized the mistake? I kind of like to think it was. I like to think that maybe someday that clerk will have a chance to right a mistake and remember the old guy who would not walk away with a quarter and a penny too much. You see sometimes we get a chance, a single chance, to teach someone else a lesson in honesty and morality that if we don’t jump on it when it avails itself to us, may never come a long again.
So, I’ll ask it one more time, how big does doing the right thing have to be with you before you do it?