Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hilo Days: Honesty Pays

I learned pretty early in life that if you make a mistake, own up to it and face the consequences. Sometimes you receive a reward for it, or however you want to rationalize it. For your enjoyment and edification, here’s another story from my long-gone Hilo Days website.

Being Responsible

I [once] had to pay for one of my pranks.  You know how "boys will be boys"? Well, while walking to Japanese school one day, as we passed Lincoln Park, I grabbed the math book of one of the younger kids who was walking with us, and ran 'way ahead of him.

About a block and a half ahead of him, I turned to see him huffing and puffing, chasing me for all he was worth. I stopped, and put his book on the back fender of a car that was parked there. Just before the kid got to the car, it suddenly pulled out of the parking space.

We both stared with our mouths open as the car — and the math book — disappeared down the street. The poor kid started to cry and said he was going to get it from the teacher for losing the book.

Of course, big man that I was, I told him not to worry, that I would go with him to his class tomorrow, explain what happened to the teacher, and pay for the lost book.

First thing the next morning — and I do mean first thing — the kid sought me out and reminded me of my promise.  So, trembling in my shoes, I went to talk to his teacher. It was Mrs. Baptiste, my fourth-grade teacher.

I explained the situation and told her to let me know how much the book cost.  She was pretty nice about it, and I think she was proud of me that day. I forget the cost of the book — it was about $7 or so, and it did hurt financially.

However, remember that I told you earlier that I was lucky. Someone else must have been proud of me that day because the very next week I made a phone call from the public phone at the Hilo Library.

When I hung up the phone, this avalanche of dimes came pouring out. It was about $4 or so — not enough to make up for the entire cost of the lost book — but enough to replenish my piggy bank.

In retrospect, I guess I should have turned the money in.

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