We are so used to hearing about crime, disrespect for others and a general lack of concern for the good of the community that I have to report this interesting trip to our local shopping mall.
We live a distance from any reasonable sized shopping centre and make periodic trips whenever necessity demands. On this occasion a friend and I travelled together, so I actually had some spare time just to browse around.
Two young boys began tussling on the centre floor. They were approximately 8 or 9 years old. Not an unusual sight then, for this age group. As I looked on they both seemed to be grappling for something. One of the boys said “Get away. I am keeping it.” The other replied “It is someone elses’ money.” With that he won the battle, grabbed the coin and high tailed it off to catch up with the man who dropped it. He returned that coin to its rightful owner who walked off smiling.
I think he was in shock – I know I was! That child needed to be rewarded for his honesty. It was hard to resist the urge to locate his parents and ask permission to give him money as a gesture for such good behaviour. On reflection though I thought that may cause resentment on the part of his brother. After all he may not have wanted that money for selfish reasons and his thinking patterns are that of a child still. In the end it seemed wiser simply to speak with the child and thank him for his honesty. It also seemed right to say that he should be proud of his actions. I praised him highly and he ran off with very straight shoulders.
Well done to the child and kudos to the parents who obviously have instilled high ethical and moral standards into their children. The battle for the next generation is not lost yet, it seems.
Following this incident I walked into the bookstore. Definitely one of my favourite places to be. While I looked over the tantalizing titles looking for a gift for my son, another couple entered the store. The following conversation took place:
Owner “Excuse me”
Owner “I am really glad to have you in my store and appreciate your custom.”
Couple “Thank you?”
Owner “However, would you mind finishing your breakfast outside the store before coming in. I am sure you are very careful with food but it is so easy to damage books and make them unsaleable. I hope I haven’t offended you.”
The young couple left the store smiling and I am certain they will come back. This owner may never have seen them before and there are clear signs urging customers not to eat within the bookshop. Regardless of this he did not berate them for not noticing the signs but treated them with respect and courtesy. It wasn’t appropriate to speak but maybe a written note to thank him for his courtesy might be in order.
That particular mall is in an area known for crime. It has a reasonably high crime rate but on this day the whole shopping experience was a pleasure. In fact this time I look forward to our next shopping experience. Now that is unusual.