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HONESTY PAYS

Story ID:9515
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Margaretville New York USA
Year:2013
Person:George Lewis
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HONESTY PAYS
By Fred Wickert


There lives in the town of Gilboa, New York, a man named George Lewis. George owns a small apple orchard and each year he harvests the apples and puts them in cold storage. He has some of them pressed in to apple cider and sells it by the quart, half gallon and gallon.

During the winter months he loads apples and cider in to the back of his pickup truck. He goes to all the neighboring towns to different locations and parks his truck for the day, selling apples and apple cider. The apples can be bought in different size bags or they can be bought by the bushel.

Each day George moves to a different location to sell his apples and cider. Around Christmas time last December in 2013 he was set up around the rear of a gas station in Margaretville, New York. It is one of these stations with a convenience store. In this particular location he set up for more than one day as it is a good location and the station owners are agreeable to it.

On that particular day the weather was bitter cold and windy. George decided to go inside and buy a cup of coffee and some pastry to take the chill off. On his way back to his truck he saw something black lying on the ground. When he approached it, he saw that it was a ladies black vinyl type wallet. He picked it up and saw it was partly open and had some bills in it. He returned to the clerk in the convenience store and left it with her. He believed the owner was likely to come back looking for it.

That night before he left for home he went to the store clerk and asked if anyone had claimed the wallet. The clerk told him no, and asked if he was asking for a reward. He replied that he did not expect any reward, but he would appreciate it if the owner was to thank him and maybe buy a bag of apples.

The next day George was back at the same location with his apples. That afternoon a car drove up with a man and a woman in it. The couple got out of the car and came over to his truck to see his apples. The woman purchased apples of two different varieties. When she went to pay him she said, “I want to give you a hundred dollars for finding my wallet and money yesterday and turning it in. That was so good of you to do that.”

George replied, “You have thanked me and you bought some of my apples. That is all the thanks I need. All of us lose something from time to time. You keep your hundred dollars.” The woman was grateful, had the man with her put her apples in the car and they left. George stayed and sold apples for the rest of the day.

George made pretty close to the same amount of money every day. It always averaged out about the same and he can pretty much depend on a certain amount each day. It just works out that way. He was a bit taken back at the end of that day because when he counted up how much he had taken in that day, he discovered that he had taken in exactly one hundred dollars more than usual.

George thinks that additional hundred dollars that day was a message from on high. I think George is right. I think it was a message too. George has related his story to a number of people. Most have ignored the message and have told him what a fool he was. They have told him he should have thrown away the wallet and kept the money it contained for himself. They have said that is what they were inclined to do if they had found the wallet with money in it.

I think that speaks volumes about the society in which we now live. I am so glad that there are still some who, like George, have integrity. I think the extra hundred dollars George made that day was a reward to George, but more than that, I think it was a message to all of us. I think it is especially a message to those who could keep the money and throw away the wallet without a care in the world. It is also a message that we are being watched. Whatever we do does not go unnoticed.


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