I was sitting in the sandwich shop at Wally World using their wifi the other day when Bill strolled in and sat down beside me. I hadn’t seen my fellow co-worker for a while, so we did a bit of catching up. Low and behold, a few minutes later another old phone crank walked in. I hadn’t seen Jack since our old employer closed up shop about a year ago, so we did yet some more catching up.
Eventually, the conversation turned to what I was doing on the internet, and I told them that I was looking for a certain thing on eBay. I asked them if they’d ever used it and they both said they’d bought stuff on there, but had never sold anything on it. I told them that I liked it for buying stuff, but not for selling, since I considered it and PayPal to be more trouble than they were worth. At that, Jack laughed and told us a little story.
It seems that he has a rich uncle who’s a millionaire and a world traveler (or at least pretends to be). He knows that Jack hasn’t found work yet and recently approached him by email to see if Jack would part with an old clock from the family. Jack said it was fairly old, but was a very common style that sells on eBay for $10-20, so he quoted the uncle $20. The uncle immediately asked if he’d take a smaller amount, and Jack said yes, with a certain amount for shipping. The uncle agreed to send him a check, and Jack agreed to send the clock on receipt of the check. Interestingly enough, when the check came, it was $4 less than agreed upon. Jack said he thought the uncle figured that he was desperate and would run and cash the check and send the clock anyway. He said he was tempted to send the check back, but he decided that if the uncle valued his honor and honestly at only $4, it wasn’t up to him to bid up the price. So, he sent it anyway and let the uncle think he’d won.
We commended him for his generosity and the discussion moved on to other subjects. Finally, Jack’s wife waved as she passed the shop with a cart-load of groceries and Jack bid us adieu. Later, the subject came up about how Christmas brings out the best in some folks and the worst in others. Bill then told me that the real irony is that he’d seen Jack put his last $5 in the Salvation Army kettle once and yet his rich uncle stiffed him. My reply was just to ask whose shoes he’d rather be in come Judgment Day. “Good point,” he said with a smile. © 2013