Presented Us with a
Should We Return the Money?
What Would You Have Done?
What Would You Have Done?
Bev Gladys (Bev's Mom) at 94 Bob (Bev's Husband)
Gladys at 95
Gladys Lekang turned 96 recently and she is truly something to behold! Yes, she needs a walker to get around nowadays—but that's the only thing about her you could possibly call "slow." She's always been tiny (4' 11" at 89 pounds) and she resembles a fragile Dresden doll. But her bright eyes and impish smile make everyone who meets her fall in love with her.
And does she love to dress up! Gladys always looks like she just stepped out of a fashion magazine. Her taste in clothes and accessories (many of which she made herself) is impeccable. Everywhere she goes, people can't help but make a fuss over her, saying how glad they are to see her, and how beautiful she looks. Everybody loves Gladys—and she well deserves it.
Although I've known Gladys for a long time, I only recently learned that for many years she was a fashion model for Hollywood costume-designer Edith Head. When I asked if she had any photos from that era, she said that over the years she had "loaned" all her pictures to various people, and now has none left.
It was one of our regular Saturday night dinners at the Hometown Buffet in Oceanside, where my wife and I had been meeting our friends Bob and Beverly for many years. Gladys (Bev's mom) had become the fifth of our little group, since Art had passed away.
On this particular Saturday night we were expecting a friend to join us, but he didn't show up. However, Beverly had paid for six dinners, and received a senior citizen discount on each of them. When it became apparent the friend was not coming, Beverly mentioned that she'd better talk to one of the staff about getting a refund on the extra dinner.
"Yes," agreed Gladys, "do that right now—so they won't give you a hassle and think you're trying get away with something!"
"Oh, mom," Beverly replied, "they know us here. There won't be any trouble—and we can get the refund on the way out."
"No!" Gladys insisted. "By then they might have forgotten us. You need to go to the cashier and get your money back right now!"
"Well, they look kind of busy," replied Bev, glancing toward the cashiers. "I'll wait till things slow down a little."
(Continued in next column...)
"No!" Gladys snapped. "They're working with your money and that's not right! You need to get the cash back right now!"
"OK, OK, Mom," Beverly said with a sigh, as she got up and headed toward the cashier area.
The rest of us were silently agreeing with Bev that there was no hurry in getting this handled just then—but none of us wanted to challenge Gladys, who smiled with satisfaction when Bev returned holding some money and a slip of paper.
Beverly sat down, but immediately got up again as she looked at the slip of paper with consternation in her eyes. "They gave me too much money," she said.
"We all got a senior discount on our dinners—but they paid me back at the regular rate. That means they overpaid me by $1.50. I need to go give it back."
"No you don't!" said Gladys, with fire in her eyes. "It's their mistake—and if they want the money, they should come to you!"
"But, Mom—they're busy and had to squeeze me in ahead of people waiting in line. It's easy to make a mistake when you're under pressure. I'm gonna go give the extra money back to them!"
"That's not your problem!" Gladys insisted. "This is a business and a business needs to take care of its own mistakes! They shouldn't expect their customers to be running around solving their problems. If they find the error and ask you for the money—fine! Otherwise, just sit down and eat."
Well, Bev just groaned, and decided she wouldn't argue the point any further. So she just walked back to the cashier to return the money. However, she was gone a lot longer this time.
When she returned she apologized for being gone so long—but explained that the young cashier was all flustered, and didn't know how to accept the money without getting the register totals all messed up. Giving a refund was easy—the cash register had a button for that. But she had no idea how enter this returned money.
"Ha!" said Gladys triumphantly. "If you had listened to me, there wouldn't have been any trouble!"
OK — so what would you have done?
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