My friend, Yvonne, is a generous soul. So much so that she gives the people who rent a house from her a gift at Christmas. Her renters aren't always prompt with payment either. I give my renters here some home made goodies. She gives hers a $100 gift card from WalMart. Definitely want to rent from her! I have been on the receiving end of her generosity and know that her motives are pure.
Last weekend she stopped at WalMart and purchased the gift card for her tenant. She was in a hurry and had several errands to complete and as she drove she told her husband to take the gift card and put it in the envelope with the card she had already addressed, so that she could simply drop it in the mail. This is when they discovered that the gift card was not in the bag. The clerk had laid it in the area where cash and credit card transactions take place and in her rush she didn't see it and assumed it to be in the bag with her other merchandise. She turned around and made her way back to the store and presented her receipt. Although that card was then voided, someone had already spent $49. WalMart refunded the balance and my friend purchased another $100 card. She was upset, as anyone would have been, but did not expect WalMart to do anything. After all, she could have left a $100 bill on the counter and lost all of it.
She told me all about her crummy day and said that she thought the man behind her may have taken the card. But, she didn't want to accuse him of it. She must have had some sort of an exchange with him, since she knew he was in line to get a Barbie doll that he did not want his little girl to see. The child was in another check-out line with her mother. But Yvonne just wrote the incident off as crummy luck. She was more irritated with herself than anything. She hoped that whoever used the card really needed it.
So, imagine her surprise when she received a phone call the next morning from WalMart. They wanted to give her the money that was used on the card! They told her that they had viewed the security tape and that the man in line behind her had taken the card and given it to his wife in another lane. He was close enough to hear the transaction and would have known that it had $100 on it.
I am sure the manager traced the transactions made by my friend for the last few months and realized that she is a valuable customer. It was a smart business decision to make it right for her and absorb the loss. It was also the right thing to do. WalMart gets its share of bad press and I know that this decision was made on a local level and kudos go to the manager of this particular store. Perhaps not every manager would have done this.
So, I started thinking about decisions and opportunities to do the right thing. I wonder what the man was thinking as he pocketed the gift card. Do you suppose he debated what to do when he saw the card sitting there? Did he think it was his lucky day? Did he imagine what he could buy? Why didn't he call out, "Ma'am, you forgot your card." Was the Barbie doll in his hand his child's only gift to go under the tree? Had he just lost his job? Was this a windfall he felt he could not pass up? Or ............... was he just greedy? Did he give any thought to the person who just paid for the card?
What would you have done? Would you have been tempted to slip the card in your pocket? It seems that the older I get the more defined the line between right and wrong is. There are things that I have done in my life that I am not proud of. We can always justify our actions even when we know what we are doing is wrong. My mother was quick to point out that "what goes around, comes around". Some folks call it karma. All I know is that there is always payback. Not always equal or quick, but it will eventually catch up. Most of the time we aren't even aware of it. For all I know that man had a flat tire on the way home. If he did he no doubt was depending on the balance of that stolen card to help him out ..................