Today I had an interesting experience and the chance to teach Ben a little more about right from wrong. Ben is Autistic and has a hard time dealing with social issues so any time I get the chance, I try to explain in detail what happened, why it happened, and why I am responding the way I am. Anything I can do to make Right From Wrong clearer for him helps a lot in the long run.
This afternoon we went to the McDonald’s drive thru. I ordered a few things off the dollar menu and our total came to $6.36. We pulled up and I handed the cashier a $20 bill. He gave me my change. I pulled up again and got our food, checked the food in the bag to make sure we had everything and headed home.
Once we got home and ate, I dug into my purse to get the change out and put it in my wallet. After unfolding the money I realized that the cashier had given me an extra $5. He gave me $18 change instead of $13 change. I have been a cashier many times and I know that if the drawer shows up short, you get in a lot of trouble. I felt horrible for the guy! Thankfully the McDonald’s was only 5 minutes up the road and we still had to get Shelby from band practice.
We left the house a few minutes early so we could go by the McDonald’s first. I explained to Ben that the cashier gave us too much money back and it is not right to keep money that is not yours. I further explained that the cashier could get in trouble because he would not have all the money in his drawer that he is supposed to have. He would be missing money!
Once we got to the McDonald’s, we went inside and asked to speak to the manager. I showed him my receipt and explained what had happened and what our cashier looked like. He knew right away which employee it was. Both he and the cashier and all the other employees were thankful but also in shock that I brought the money back. Apparently this is just not that common anymore. Honesty is not common? How sad is that? I understand if you find $5 in an empty parking lot on the ground and there is no one around but to KNOW that you got money back that isn’t yours and just keep it? Something just isn’t right with that!
By the way, Ben loved the fact that we helped that cashier out by being honest. He learned a little about telling right from wrong and he was thrilled to be a part of that. It’s helping him understand the kind of man I want him to grow up to be (even if he isn’t aware of it yet).
It has always been my experience that in regards to karma, what goes around comes around. The real catch is that if you do not do the “right” thing then you better believe that the “wrong” thing will find you (and paybacks are hell!). I have tried my best to instill that value in each of my children as well. I really love it when I get the chance to practice what I preach!
The other day I drove Shelby (my third child, youngest daughter) to school. When we pulled into the drop off area there was just one car in front of us. Shelby told me goodbye and got out and closed the van door. I was watching her go into the schoolyard and happened to notice the girl getting out of the car in front of us. As she exited her car and flung her backpack over her shoulder, something fell to the ground. It didn’t look like a piece of trash or empty snack wrapper or anything like that and by the time I noticed that it was probably something expensive (it was in a really nice carrying case), the girl was long gone.
The car was still in front of me at a stop (not sure why……) so I hurried out of my van, hoping to get to her before she pulled out, and I tapped on the window. Of course the woman in the car just looked at me with a glare. I motioned and said, “Can you roll down your window?” Still glaring, she rolled down her window and I told her “Your daughter just dropped something when she got out of your car. Hold on and I’ll go get it for you.”
I ran up to where the girl had dropped the item. It was a nice, padded, black velvet bag. Inside was a brand new i phone with matching earbuds! I walked it back over to the mother in the car. To say that the mother was relieved is an understatement. I was actually shocked that the bag was still there when I got to it and that it hadn’t been picked up by someone else or stepped on. I feel sorry for the girl though, because she probably went the whole day thinking she had lost this expensive phone and that her mom was going to be furious when she told her!
Later I asked Shelby if she knew the girl who had gotten out of the car and she said that she didn’t. She couldn’t believe that the girl had dropped her phone and not noticed! Then she said “Mom that girl is really lucky you found her phone for her!”
Children may not always “listen” to us, but they are always…… ALWAYS….. watching.
I had a really good friend in college. We had some legal classes together (I hold a degree in Paralegal Studies / Legal Assisting) and usually we went to lunch together after class to eat and study. We had a lot in common. We both had kiddos and we were trying to find our way back into the corporate world. Our kids played together. We compared job search notes with each other.
She always ordered the same thing every time we went to lunch. This is what she ate every day, for two years, at lunch:
A croissant that was split with butter on it and fried on the grill topped with fried eggs, lots of bacon and cheese. Then she topped that with a ton of mayonnaise. I always teased her that is was a “heart attack on a plate”. She laughed and ate it anyhow.
After graduation, we both moved on, busy with our lives. We kept in touch but were not as close as we once were. Christmas Eve I was getting ready to go to a family celebration and was walking thru the living room. The news was on. My friend was killed in a head on collision the night before. Her sons had also been in the car but they were unharmed. My friend was dead.
Apparently those croissants did not matter after all. I try hard everyday to keep that in mind.
I wish I did that more often. Seriously. I am not one of those people who, in a moment of regret, says “That’s not what I meant.” Pretty much if it came out of my mouth, I meant it. I probably could phrase things better a lot of the time, but I always mean what I say.
Sometimes I say things that in retrospect could apply to myself as well. A perfect example is that someone I know just found out that they have tongue cancer and need lazer surgery. Of corse the first thing I said was that they should not be smoking, what did they expect? Um yeah. The same could be said about the fact that I have had several skin cancer surgeries and yet I still go out in the sun, in the middle of the day, without sunscreen. Open mouth, insert foot. The really bad part is that once you’ve said it, that’s it. No takesies backsies. It’s out there for good now.
Think before speaking….. it’s always recommended and totally underrated…….
One of my favorite quotes, from the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”:
“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And, if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”