How much would you pay to be honest?
A good friend of mine had a great experience about honesty that I asked him if I could share here. He gave me permission, with the request to remain anonymous. I'll give him the name of Spencer.
Spencer was invited to go to a fancy garden with some friends. At the gates, one of his companions went up ahead to buy all the tickets at once. My friend thought this was because there was a large crowd, and it would be faster to purchase all at once, instead of each person getting in line for their own ticket. When the companion returned, Spencer found out that his friend has used his personal discount to purchase the tickets, under the pretense that he was buying multiple tickets for those who all qualified. He knew fully well that Spencer didn't qualify for it. In his eyes, the friend thought he was doing Spencer a favor. However, to Spencer, he knew that he was inadvertently being dishonest. Before he had a chance to protest, they were swept through the entrance to the garden.
My friend had a hard time fully enjoying the beautiful grounds, because he didn't feel right about cheating the ticket office. Although he hadn't committed the trickery himself, and he would have been happier to pay his fair amount in the first place, he believed since he knew about the dishonesty, he needed to correct it somehow. He said a couple silent prayers what to do, but no real clear answer came.
By the end of the visit to the garden, Spencer says he was still troubled about his ticket price. He was torn between letting the matter go, or to keep pursuing an answer to the problem. The easy solution would have been to forget about it, but a nagging feeling wouldn't leave it be. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that even though it was small, he was going to be honest about it.
When he reached home, Spencer looked up the garden's website. His intentions were to track the exact address and mail them the remaining balance he owed. After exploring the site for a little bit, he found a donation tab that would allow him to donate whatever amount he wanted to the garden. This approach was much simpler, and would guarantee that the park would receive the money, rather than it being lost in the mail, or other similar circumstances.
He completed the transaction online.
The total cost came to $3.54.
I was very much impressed by Spencer's diligence to being honest, even though the cost to do so was a small number. I believe there are special blessings to be had when our consciences are completely clear. It inspires me to be more diligent myself, and watch with a more careful eye to what little things I might just "let slip". After all, with small things great things come to pass. If by letting the little mistakes continually go by without an attempt to correct them, then it might not seem so hard or bad to make the bigger mistakes.
Thank you Spencer for your story, and for your example. I know it made a difference in at least one life today (mine).