Friday, September 14, 2012

Do the Right Thing

How many times a day are we faced with making a decision about what to do in a situation?  (Probably too many to count on certain days)  Anything from picking up a piece of litter and disposing of it or witnessing a crime and reporting in and everything in between.  This week I was put in a situation that really got me thinking about "do the right thing."  We tell our children constantly to "do the right thing."  But, do we as adults always practice what we preach?

This week I needed to run out and get some red thread to start Piper's Halloween costume.  We also needed to run to the grocery store to get more banana's and peanut butter (Piper's current favorite meal. I wonder, is it bad to let a kid eat a banana and peanut butter for every meal? Anyway...)  Wal-Mart is the closest place to get thread so that's where we ended up.  Upon pulling into the parking lot I saw a local company truck parked funny.  Closer inspection showed me the truck had rolled into another parked car.  It must have recently happened because several people were looking at it.  When we got into the store I heard over the driver of the local company paged over the intercom.  In my mind, I said "okay, it's being handled" and went on my way.  We got the thread we needed, looked at a few more things then headed to the check-out. On my way out the door a gentleman caught my eye, I don't know why, so I watched him for a minute.  I'm glad I did.  He happened to be the driver of the truck that had rolled into the other car.  I saw the realization hit him and was so shocked by what happened next.  The driver picked up the pace to his truck, hopped in and drove off.  By this time I had Piper in her seat so I jumped into my car and followed him.  I got his licenses number.  I parked again and called the company to report it.  At first the girl on the other end of the phone seemed concerned.  Until I explained it to her a second time, when she discovered that their truck had hit a car and not vice versa she didn't seem as concerned.  So, there I sat in my car struggling with what to do.  I had called the company and reported it.  Was that enough?  I wasn't sure they were going to do anything.  I already had Piper in her seat.  I needed to go get banana's and lunch time was quickly approaching.  (I should note here that I don't handle confrontation well.  I like staying at home more than I like going out because I don't always like interacting with people, it makes me uncomfortable).  After sitting there for a minute, I went back in the store.  I found a manager and gave her the information.  As I was leaving I heard the driver for the other car (the one hit) being paged over the intercom.

When I got home it bothered me that I struggled so much with what to do.  Doing the right thing should be a no brainer.  Sure, I could have gotten in my car and left.  No one knew what I had witnessed.  I knew.  No one would have seen me leave.  Piper would have.  Yep, she's only two, but we have to remind ourselves that each and every thing we do in the presence of our children is laying a foundation.

So, I have made it a goal to make a more conscious effort when it comes to doing the right thing.  Zachary loves to pick things up off the ground.  I can't tell you how many times I have said, "eww put that down," when I should have been saying "let's find a trash can for that."  When I'm out walking the dog, I have bags with me already, I can easily pick up trash along the road.  When I am given 10 cents too much at the check-out, I'm going to return it (how many of us have ignored this one?).  If I can't return it, I will put it in a change donation box somewhere.  I will return the shopping cart to the corral and any others I see around me in the parking lot.  I will hold the door for the person entering a building behind me.  I challenge you to do the same.  No matter how small the act may be, do the right thing.  Do not walk past something / witness something and assume someone else will take care of it.  I think if we all did the right thing 100% of the time (and it's hard to do), this world would be a much better place.  Don't you?


  1. I know that this is an older post and you may not read the comment for a long time but...I'm 'doing the right thing". You really wrote a great article here and I agree with you 100% and I wanted you to know this. I am like you. I pick up the trash, walk all the way back in with the cart if there is no cart carrel, tell the cashier she didn't charge me enough, etc. I teach my kindergarten students a song about integrity and the refrain is "Even if no one is looking at me I will remember just how I should be." Our fellow humans may not be watching but the Spirit/God/Holy One is.

  2. Karen,

    Thank you for your kind comment. I love that you teach your kindergarten students that lesson. What lucky kids they are to have such a thoughtful teacher to teach them a very important life lesson!