Honesty Is H-A-R-D

>> Thursday, November 13, 2008

The title speaks for itself. It’s hard to believe that our modern society doesn’t necessarily promote honesty. (Or at least in my opinion) Typically there’s no reward for being that Boy Scout that always does the right thing. The only prize or incentive for this lifestyle is a clear conscience. I recently experienced such temptations of wealth and personal gain in the most unexpected manner.

Yesterday I decided to run a few errands since my last class for the day was canceled. One of the things on my to-do list was to pay off housing fees for the following semester. I made my way down to the payment building and was greeted by a friendly lady behind the counter. After a few clicks on her computer she asked me how’d I like to pay. “Debit please” I swiped my card through the machine. ERROR. Lets try again she said. ERROR. I walked off to the side and made a call to my bank. The amount I was trying to pay was too high. I had to split the payment, HALF today and HALF tomorrow.

I waited in line again and by chance I went up to the same lady. “Can I just pay half right now?” “Sure, debit again?” “Yes please” I swiped my card, got a receipt, and said thanks. I decided to walk over to the office next door and get a print out of all my transactions. The lady behind the desk prints me out a copy. “I see you paid off ALL your fees today” Half way out the door I look through the print out a little bit puzzled and confused. Turns out the computer system made a rare mistake. I was only charged for half, but it received a full payment.

This was to become thee alpha decision of my day: I could walk off, basically have free meals or housing for a semester, no one would know. I had the printout as proof I paid for it; they wouldn’t be able to do anything anyways. I’d have a little over two thousand dollars to spend on anything I want. OR I could go back to the lady at the counter, tell her she made a mistake, this isn’t my money, this isn’t right.

And so my friends, against every fiber in my body, I went back to the counter. She corrected the mistake, stamped my printout, said sorry for the inconvenience and thank you. You might call me crazy, but at least I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing. Go forth and do the same.


Anonymous,  12/2/08, 3:17 PM  

Wow. Thats admirable. That would be a hard choice to make. either be slightly better off financially but worser off morally, or be worser off financially and better off morally. Huh. Well.

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