The following is my Sunday article for The News Tribune (Tacoma). To God be the glory!
Has our culture become so unaccustomed to kindness and honesty that when we see or experience it, we have no idea how to respond or what to make of it? Allow me to share with you a case in point.
On Tuesday night my Dad called me to share a story about something he experienced recently. He went to a grocery store in Sun City West, AZ; one that he and my Mom frequent. There was an item on sale that he liked so he decided to get a couple of them along with a couple other items they needed – four items in total. The checkout person rang them up, my Dad paid for them and he went home. After arriving at home, he was looking at the receipt and noticed that only three of the items were rung up. This did not sit well with him. So, a couple days later he was back at that same grocery store, this time standing in line at Customer Service with that incomplete receipt. Normally people go to Customer Service to return/exchange an item or complain about something. I am sure there are other things but those seem to me to be the most popular. After standing in line for just over 30 minutes, my Dad handed his receipt to the gentleman behind the counter and explained the problem. The man looked confused at which time my Dad asked, “You haven’t seen this a whole lot, have you?” The man replied, “I have never seen this”. Soon, the man’s co-worker, came over and asked if there was a problem. My Dad proceeded to explain, again, the problem. The young lady also looked confused. The two customer service agents then proceeded to discuss this among themselves. The man behind the counter soon returned to my Dad and handed the receipt back saying, “Thank you for your honesty, but we don’t know how to handle this so here you go. You can go home.” A little dumbfounded, my Dad left. They would not take his money.
I thanked my Dad for the story but later started thinking about it and I became troubled. Was it really that hard to ring that item up and collect that money from my Dad? Really, they have never seen this kind of honesty before? I see a lot of unkindness across social media and in the news as they portray the dealings with our government. It appears kindness and honesty are just words we throw around and lecture people about, but when it comes to actually putting those words into practice, people are confused when they see it. What if kindness and honesty was not rare? As a follower of Jesus there are times I drop the ball on showing kindness. That receipt of my Dad’s? That has happened to me and I did not return to the store. God, help me be more like Jesus. Help me show kindness and honesty in all situations, so much so, that a ripple effect is started that makes kindness and honest no longer a rare sight. Oh God, help me to glorify you, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.