Honesty Is Its Own Sweet Reward

| Learning | September 18, 2013

(I am a member of the school choir, and we’ve stayed after school for rehearsal. About an hour and a half into practice, the choir director gives us a 15-minute break. A group of girls goes down to the cafeteria. One girl puts some money in the vending machine to get chips.)

Girl #1: “My chips are stuck!”

(She begins hitting the machine to try and get the chips to fall. Somehow, the act of hitting the machine causes something to malfunction, and other rows to start working. Two other bags of chips and three different boxes of candy fall out before [Girl #1’s] chips finally fall.)

Girl #2: “Oh my gosh! Free food!”

Me: “Guys we can’t just take this.”

Girl #1: “Why not? We didn’t steal it. The machine just gave it to us!”

Me: “Yeah but if we take it, that’s money out of the school’s pocket, and out of the vending company’s pocket.”

Girl #2: “But then what do we do with it? Leave it here?”

Me: “No. We can take it to the office and explain what happened.”

Girl #1: “But we’ll get in trouble!”

Me: “Why? We didn’t know other things would fall out. You were just hitting the machine to try and get your chips to fall.”

Girl #2: “I don’t know…”

(I’m the oldest, so at this point I scoop up everything and walk down to the office, with the other two girls behind me. When we get there, we discover that the office is empty save for the principal.)

Me: “Hi, sir! Just wanted to let you know what happened. [Girl #1]’s chips got stuck, and when she hit the machine to get them to fall, all of this fell out too!”

Principal: “Well I’ll get the vending company to look into that.”

Me: “We don’t want to steal from the school or the vending company, so what should we do with this?”

Principal: “…enjoy!”

(The other girls were super happy, and it was a great lesson for all of us in honesty.)

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