Do The Right Thing?

“Excuse me sir.”


“I think there’s been a mistake.”


“Yes. You forgot to charge us for the Arnold Palmers.”

The waiter took the check from my hand, “Oh I did. Oh ma’am, oh thank you so much.”

“I cannot tell a lie.”

“I know, mom.”

“I would’ve asked him to correct the bill had the mistake not been in my favor.”

“I got you, Mom. This seems only fair.”

$12 later the grateful waiter returned with the bill.

“I usually enter the drinks right away, I’m so sorry, I don’t know why I didn’t in this case.”

“Perfection is an ideal, no problem.”

$6.00 each for an Arnold Palmer is pricey – even with refills.  And I admit, the thought that I was a sucker did cross my mind when I saw the $12 beverage total.

But we’d come to the restaurant to celebrate, well aware that Freds Beverly Hills at Barneys New York was not cheap.  The name of the restaurant boasts two of the world’s pricier hamlets in its name. And we did order and enjoy the drinks of our own free will.

But 12, extra dollars — on which I would also tip — for tea, lemonade and mostly ice?  Absurd? Sure. But I had to point it out and pay it

I am compelled to do the right thing. I can’t stand the sound of that little, late night, judgmental voice in my head so I silence her by paying for overpriced Arnold Palmers. I was raised to do the right thing. I am raising my children to do the same.

But am I wrong? Am I handicapping my children? Preparing them for yesterday instead of tomorrow?  I see people cutting corners everywhere – in the news, on social media across the political and social spectrum.  Is my ‘honesty is the best policy’ and my insistence that everyone in my family do the right thing, cross that ’t’ and dot that i — even when no one else will notice – still valuable in today’s society? Or, will the ubiquitous ‘they’ to whom I refer above get their comeuppance as my like-minded, honest friends reassure me. Will this leave my honest, I-dotting kids in good stead?

I paid the bill and off my daughter and I went to continue our Rodeo Avenue day shopping in celebration of her birthday. The only voices in my head my daughter’s — which was filled with gratitude — and my own which was satisfied that I’d done the right thing and taught a valuable lesson.




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