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The Observer

They bring me joy, these boys of mine: my son, Pete, and his two sons. A extra few hours of vacation tagged on to the Thanksgiving weekend, gave me time to surprise them at the hockey arena and hang out for both boys' hockey games, with brunch at the Golden Griddle in between.

A friendly woman in a Robin's egg blue hijab, greeted us and showed us to our table, explaining our menu options and the cost for children and adults at the buffet. We settled in to enjoy our meal.

William, the youngest boy was born curious; a scientific observer and thinker. Nothing escapes his attention.

Over lunch, his dad and I were talking and one of us used the word "loophole." William looked up from the place mat he was colouring. 

"What's a 'loophole?'" he wanted to know.

I laughed at the challenge presented by the question and deferred to Pete's younger and more agile brain. He explained that a loophole is when rules are in place for a specific purpose, but someone finds a gap through which they can bend the rules, or get around them, without breaking them exactly. William listened carefully, and nodded, his curiosity satisfied, for the time being at least.

As we left the restaurant, the woman who had greeted us at the door, took my credit card so that I could pay our bill. I pointed out that one of the boys was over 10, the age for the child's rate on the buffet but we had been given that rate for both children, and I wanted to pay the difference. She made the adjustment to the bill and then looked into my eyes, "Thank you," she said, "Not many people would have done that."

I said, a little embarrassed, "It's the right thing."

With a gesture that attempted to convey to the meaning of her words she said, "When you do that, God..."

"Blesses you?" I finished her sentence with a smile, both of us understanding that we were on exactly the same wave length, "I believe that too."

Outside, Pete and the boys were waiting. "Was something wrong?" Pete asked.

"No," I said, "We were just undercharged."

"Isn't that a good thing?" asked William, with innocent logic.

And I had a chance to at least model the word "integrity" for my young observer--which felt like it balanced out that lesson on "loopholes." :)


Anonymous said…
It is sad - nothing seems to surprise people more than honesty. When you point out a missed coffee charge, or lower total they look at you like you are an alien. Some thank you, some just bring a corrected bill and others will wave the difference. I may not have grandchildren watching my every move like they tend to do - but God is watching. And it is He that we are accountable.
Belinda said…
True Anon. I just thought about the fact that if I had been overcharged I would surely have mentioned it, so it works both ways.
We are so with you, Joe and I don't want to get a bargain that costs us a bit of our sense of our own integrity. I'd rather pay an extra five bucks and know that I'm the kind of guy who pays the extra five bucks.
Belinda said…
Dave I too would rather pay extra than cheat someone out of what is theirs. That's such a good way to put it.

“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
― Socrates, Essential Thinkers - Socrates (Barnes & Noble Collector's Library)

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