A wise man once told me that we are defined not by doing what we’re expected to do, but by the actions we take when others don’t expect it.
This story, sent in by a reader, is a great example.
My Dad taught me many lessons growing up, he spoke to me about honesty, respect and honor. One day when I was a young man I ran out of fuel in my car. I was a few miles from home and without a penny. I walked into a pub and asked if I could use their phone to get my Dad to come and collect me. They told me there was a payphone in the corner. I asked if they had 25 cents so I could make the call and they obliged.
My Dad came, and the following day I picked up my car. When I got home from work the next day, my Dad asked me if I had stopped off to repay the 25 cents I had borrowed. I told him “No” as I had not borrowed the money but they had just given it to me, and it was only 25 cents.
He told me to pop in and return it, then he told me why: “If you don’t return that 25 cents no one will mind, no one will even notice. However, if you make an effort to return that 25 cents, then, they will notice your actions, they will all notice. They will see that you are an honest man and they will remember you and your good example. If you ever need a favor again they will be happy to help you.”
He went on to say, “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but only a moment to lose it.” He was in business for years and was very respected by all. Now he is living with me and my family because he needs constant care.
People don’t talk much these days about honor and the value of a good name, but I am proud of my good name and thankful to my Dad for it.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. -Proverbs 22:1
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