Friday, December 28, 2012

No Excuses

“Oh well.”

They’re words we’ve all said before. Words we often use to let us off the hook or to silence that nagging voice inside our heads that says we should know better. But what about those times when “Oh well” isn’t good enough, when experience and integrity tell us the situation calls for something more?

I recently had to wrestle with this dilemma on a trip to Puerto Rico. I was at an oceanside restaurant with my nephew and some friends. Because of the nice weather and stunning scenery, we’d opted to dine outside on the beach -- 100 yards from the restaurant. Not expecting to get service so far away, we were shocked when one waitress trotted over to get our drink orders and ask us what we wanted to eat. Not only did she bring us our meals, she also went back and forth four or five times, refilling drinks, bringing us condiments. And for all her troubles, I left a hefty tip.

I left the restaurant feeling like I’d adequately honored her hard work, only to find a discrepancy on my credit card transaction when I got back to the hotel. It seems the hard-working waitress never received my tip.

What do you do when your good intentions are thwarted? Do you say “Oh, well” and move on? What about when the discovery comes at the last minute and you’re late for the airport? That was the situation I faced. I was at an emotional fork in the road but I knew what I had to do. I had to make sure she got the money I knew she deserved.

So the next time you’re tempted to say “Oh, well” and move on, ask yourself if the situation calls for more. If “Oh well” is really just code for “I don’t care.”

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