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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tiny Tests of Integrity

Sometimes I think that we are all being tested during our time here on earth. Are we tested for our strength? Not our physical strength, but our inner strength. Our strength to endure things that we never thought we could endure. Are we tested for our love? Not our physical love, but our love of others, love of nature, love of all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Are we tested for our blessings? Not the blessings we receive, but the blessings we can bestow upon others. Are we tested for our knowledge? Not knowledge in the sense of how smart we are, but knowledge in the sense of whether or not we realize how many wonderful gifts we’ve been given: gifts of strength, endurance, love, and all the blessings that come with them.

Are we tested for our honor and integrity? I think we are. Throughout life, I’ve seen myself go through many tiny tests of integrity. It’s the simple little things that many people wouldn’t think were tests at all that I believe are tiny pieces of our big picture. It’s those simple little things we go through each day in our life and the choices we make that mold us into who we are and state whether or not our integrity is still in tact.

I went to the bank yesterday to make a deposit for my uncle and cash a few checks I received in the mail last week. I had the total of the checks, $105, stuffed back in a corner of my brain behind the list of errands I wanted to complete. As I waited for the teller to punch the keys of the keyboard on her computer, my brain was overflowing—thinking of the next thing on my errand list. I glanced around at the people in the bank, nearly a dozen, and casually watched them converse with other bank employees. When the teller came back to my window, she handed me my deposit receipt and counted out the money from the cashed checks. My mind swung back to my errand list as she put the money in an envelope and handed it to me. Normally, I count the cash again, right at the window in front of the teller, but I was anxious to get my errands completed, and I stuffed the envelope into my purse.

I walked out of the bank, opened the car door, and Two Feather asked me what was wrong. “I don’t know, maybe nothing,” I said. Something didn’t seem right to me as I walked out of the bank, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. I guess the expression on my face showed I was unsure of something. I put my purse on the seat and pulled out the bank envelope. “I think the teller counted wrong,” I said. “I was in a hurry and wasn’t paying much attention, but I think she gave me too much money.”

“You didn’t count it before you left the window? You always count the cash before you leave the window,” he said.

“No, I didn’t. I don’t know why. I was thinking of everything we had to do today.”

I pulled the cash out of the envelope and counted it. There was $145 in my hand. I put the money back in the envelope, went back into the bank, and called the teller over to the side. I told her I had three checks that totaled $105. She went to her station to pull out the checks and said, “Yes, it was $105.” I told her she had given me too much money. She looked at the checks again and said, “I thought I’d missed a check. I must have ran it through twice.” I handed her $40 back. She thanked me as she looked at the checks and her copy of the receipt and shook her head. She thanked me again before I walked out the door and I heard her telling the employee next to her, “You don’t see that type of honesty too often.” I turned, smiled, and said, “Happy New Year.”

I was still smiling when I got in the car with Two Feather. With the way the world is today, I wondered how many others would have returned the money once they realized the teller’s mistake. It felt good to know that my integrity is still in tact.

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8 Comments:

Blogger rilera said...

What a great post Joanne! You're right, there are people out there who would have taken the money and run. Kudos for you for your integrity and your honesty.

1/08/2008 8:11 PM  
Blogger nancy said...

blessings to you joanne for your kind and honest deed. somehow it doesn't surprise me though!

1/09/2008 12:14 AM  
Blogger *(·¸*Chris*¸·)* said...

I can tell you, at my job at the bar, if my register is short, I have to make it up. I don't know if that is the way it is at the bank, but your honesty was a sweet blessing in so many ways. You made me think of my dad when I read this. My dad was so very honest too. I know he is smiling at you now:)

1/09/2008 12:31 AM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

It's refreshing to hear of an honest deed. Good for you!

1/09/2008 7:58 AM  
Blogger Cinnamin said...

Good Girl, Joanne! You made your Momma (and me) proud! ;-)

Too many times to count, while managing a small market, people shorted my cashiers and it was not caught until the end of the shift. I do recall one memorable night when a regular customer lost a $100 dollar bill and one of my girls found it in the cold box. He came back the next morning looking SO down and mentioned over his coffee that he had lost $100 the night before. I was happy to be able to return his money and when I told him that one of the cashiers had turned it in to me he said, "honest people are hard to find these days". He was thrilled and thanked her for her honesty every day for a week!

What a nice post - Glad to find that there is still integrity in action in the world!

1/10/2008 1:43 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks for reading everyone.

Chris, I worked as a teller years ago and a shortage didn't need to be made up, but the teller who had the outage always got looked at differently. Not sure if today's tellers have to make up the difference or not.

Cin, What a wonderful story. I'm so glad the man mentioned his missing $100 and you were able to give it back to him. I'm sure it meant a lot to him.

1/10/2008 7:17 PM  
Blogger rainbowheart said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post. Honesty is the best quality that anyone can possess.

1/11/2008 10:22 PM  
Blogger cornbread hell said...

awesome. (he bows.)

1/24/2008 6:28 PM