While waiting for the ferry in Port Townsend, we decided to pick up a pizza for lunch and for dinner while camping that night. We quickly found a pizza house, we ordered, my eyes got wide as I paid, but I chalked it up to us being tourists. We could make three meals out of the pizza if we tried, so the unexpected cost wouldn't hit us too terribly hard.
(Prices weren't posted anywhere, so we really did go into this blind as bats.)
We took a seat to wait for our hand-thrown Hawaiian pizza and to check email. Then the girl at the counter motioned for me to return.
"I made a mistake," she admitted. "I called the manager, and she'll be up in a minute to refund what I overcharged you."
I was so struck by her honesty, I couldn't even think of anything more to gush than, "Thank you so much for being honest. I can't believe you would do that for me!"
The refund was more than enough to pay for lunch the next day.
The next day found us in North Cascades National Park, where we bought two very meaty sandwiches, asking the young girl serving as cashier and cook to put all the meat for the two sandwiches on one, and all the tomatoes from both sandwiches on the other. Guess who was eating what that day?
(I'm the tomatosaurus; The Lizard is the meatosaurus.)
Before paying, I noticed baked, not fried, spicy coconut chips and could not resist. I went to the aisle and selected a bag of coconut heaven, then returned to the counter and paid with the very same money we'd received back the day before. There was more money left over than there should have been. I didn't put it in my purse. I held onto it.
We went to a table to await our sandwiches, and I looked over the menu again. Sure enough, the young girl had charged us for only one sandwich. By this time, the manager was on the floor and watching over her shoulder.
I approached the counter hesitantly. I didn't want to get her in trouble. For all I knew, this could have been her first day on the job. It wasn't like I gave her the easiest menu request in the world. I may have distracted her so much, she forgot to ring up the second sandwich.
"Is there something more I can get for you," she asked.
"I think I owe you more money," I said softly, trying to not to draw too much of the manager's attention.
The young girl took off her gloves and returned to the counter. The manager watched as she reviewed my receipt.
"Oh, you're right," the young girl said. "I charged you for only one sandwich."
She rung up one more sandwich, and I happily paid. The manager thanked me for my honesty. I made a point of telling her how much I appreciated this young girl putting so much attention onto our special order. I didn't have enough cash to pay for the second sandwich, thanks to those coconut chips, so I whipped out the remnant of a gift card my employer had given me in June as a 20th anniversary present. Instead of my name on the credit-looking card, it read, "Please Enjoy." The manager asked where I got the card. I told her. She laughed.
"I got a hat for my 20th," she said. "Boy, I would have loved to get one of these!"
The young girl joined in the jovial conversation.
"I got a T-shirt for one month!"
"That's right! You did!," the manager exclaimed. "Just last week, didn't you?"
They continued to giggly recall festivities of the past week, and I returned to our table feeling higher than a kite.
Someone had taken the time to be honest and the chance to be humiliated the day before, and this day, I'd taken the chance to pay it forward. The story has a happy ending. No serious repercussions resulted. No one was fired. Good meals were thoroughly enjoyed. Sleep that night came more easily because there is still good in this big, scary world.
Pass it on.