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The Honest Truth, Cross my Heart


It was a dark and stormy night. Honest. I had taken a large comforter to the Laundromat because I didn’t want the heavy load to burden my own washing machine. I slid a twenty into the bill changer and clink clink, eighty quarters began to spew into the bin below. The place was creepy at that time of night so I grabbed a handful of coins, hurriedly started the wash cycle and headed back out in the rain to the safety of my car.

When I returned, there was a ragged figure lurking in the back of the facility by the cheap washers. Skittishly, I clutched my purse close, took a deep breath and headed for my comforter. I was frightened when the man started toward me. He spoke in broken English and my heart beat loudly in my ears so at first I didn’t comprehend. What was he saying? He pointed to a stack of neatly arranged coins on the counter. Then I understood. In my haste I had left the remaining quarters in the bin.

Stunned, I thanked him for being so honest. He smiled, showing toothless gaps and explained, “My honesty is worth more than quarters.”

I learned an important lesson that night. I had always considered myself to be an honest person but I began looking closer at the small, insignificant junk-change. I began measuring myself on the scale of, “Is my honesty is worth more than...?” There are a million scenarios ranging from a few cents to a large sum, or from a white lie to a part truth or a full-blown, out-and-out falsehood. Either direction on the scale amounts to the price one is willing to pay for their integrity. And that’s the truth, cross my heart.