A Good Man – Chapter 16 – JohnA Passaro
My father gave me the greatest gift
Anyone could give another person.
He believed in me.
One of my responsibilities, when I closed the store at night, was to make a bank deposit.
After locking the store, I would count the cash in the register, put it in a bank bag and drop it off at the bank down the road.
The drop off took place after 11 pm, while the bank was closed for business so I would drop it down a special chute designed for night deposits for businesses.
Every night I would open the chute, drop in the bag, close the chute and then reopen it to make sure the bag dropped down into the bank’s vault.
One night when I was making the deposit, I opened the chute, I put the moneybag in the chute and I closed it.
I then reopened the chute to make sure the bag fell down into the vault.
It did not.
There was something stuck in the chute obstructing it from going down.
I reached in to find out what it was.
I pushed and pulled on the item – it was really stuck.
With one big yank, the item came flying out of the chute.
It stayed in my grasp.
There I was, a poor eighteen-year-old kid, in the dark, with no one around for miles, in an age before
video cameras and cell phones, holding a bag full of untraceable money.
The last person to make a night deposit forgot to reopen the chute to make sure their money went down correctly and their moneybag got stuck in the chute.
I had a decision to make.
Do I quickly open the chute and push the bag of money back down or do I just take the bag of money and go home like nothing had happened?
If I took the bag of money, no one would ever know.
There would be no way to trace the missing money back to me.
One side of my brain rationalized that it wasn’t like I set out to steal a bag full of money, it just happened to be there – sort of a lucky find on my part.
When I got to work the next morning I asked Bill if I could speak with him in private, as I had a confession to make.
I told Bill about the moneybag I had found in the chute the night before.
I let him know that I was positive that nobody saw me.
And I stopped my story right there.
I led him to believe I took the bag.
I studied his body language and facial expression looking for a hint of what to say next.
It then dawned on me.
Bill wasn’t hoping that I did the right thing.
He knew I did the right thing.
Never once did he ever falter in his belief that I would do the right thing, even in the midst of unforeseen temptation.
That was a great feeling.
I finally confessed that I pushed the money bag back into the chute so fast that it made my head spin.
I’ll never forget what he said to me when I voiced an almost remorseful thought about doing the right thing,
“Nobody would ever have known…” I said.
“You are right. Nobody would ever have known.
Nobody – except for you.”
To thine own self-be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.