Doing the right thing

A few minutes ago, I went down to Larry’s Cookies to feed my craving for some chocolate chip cookies. I got two large ones and the bill came to $5.20. The woman behind the counter bugs me. She’s been there before (of course) and she is always on the phone, never says “thank you”, and rarely pays attention to what she is doing. Today was the worst because, when I handed her the $10 bill, I found that she wouldn’t even put down the phone, and that she was slowing pulling my change out of the register one bill at a time, while she talk-talk-talked away.

I was seething!

She handed me my change without evening looking at me, let alone stopping her phone conversation. In counting off the change, I discovered that in addition to four dollar bills, she included the $10 bill that I gave her. She paid so little attention that she never put it in the register.

I looked at the money in my hand and thought, serves you right! I even hesistated knowing I could get away with keeping the money.

But in the end, I did the right thing. Scowling, shaking my head, I tossed the $10 bill onto the counter, and said, “Looks like you screwed up and gave this back to me too.”

And without pausing from her conversation, she sneered at me and stuffed the bill into the register.

But at least I’ll sleep well tonight.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.