WOW Word-Of-the-Week #423: Retribution

September 12, 2012 by  

Retribution – something justly deserved; especially punishment.

Did you ever steal anything as a child? Did you ever get caught? Has anyone ever stolen anything from you? Did they get caught?

This week’s WOW is the opposite of last week’s word of reciprocity. When I was writing it I remembered some of the things I had done in the past that I am not very proud of but that had left a profound and lasting impact on me.

I got caught stealing candy when I was about seven years old. Then when I was thirteen I shoplifted a bra when encouraged by my girlfriend. It was when I was twenty-four that I learned, “If you take something that is not yours, someone will take something of yours that is not theirs.”

When I was opening restaurants for Gilbert/Robinson I would cash all of my checks once a month and buy money orders to pay my bills. On one occasion the teller gave me $100 too much back. My roommate said to keep it because she had worked for a bank and they don’t make tellers cover their losses. Unlike us as servers, if our bank was short we had to cover it.

At the very next restaurant opening my wallet was stolen. That was when I learned that lesson “loud and clear.” It cost me more than $100 to replace what was stolen not to mention the hassle of having to report and replace credit cards and my driver’s license.

I always double check bills and invoices to make sure the addition is right and all of the items and have been included. Sometimes the mistake is in my favor and sometimes it’s not. Most of the time people are surprised when I bring it to their attention that I haven’t been charged enough and they always say “thank you.” I do that because it’s the right thing to do!

Can you remember the last time you experienced the “law of retribution?” How did it make you feel? This week’s focus is on doing the right thing so that you don’t experience justly deserved punishment!

Reader Responses

“Great one Susan! You can’t escape Karma. It’s always best to do the right thing!” – Steve

“I don’t think I have ever experienced the law of retribution. Even at a young age, if someone lost money or did not charge me enough, I returned it or let them know. I always felt that the good deed would be returned one day, though I had no idea when. I did feel that if I did not do something like that I would probably be subject to the law at some point. I may have told this story in the past, but it involves a time we went to a Northwestern football game a couple of years ago. As I was getting ready to pull out of my parking space after the game, Kristen asked me how much time was left in the meter. When I glanced up as I was reversing, I backed into the driver’s side door of a car across the street. Kristen told me to just keep going, but I did not want to because I have had similar things done to me in the past. When I went out to see the damage, it was a good gash. I left my name, address and phone number on the windshield of the car and then we went home. A couple of days later I received a phone call from the grateful owner of the car. He thanked me for leaving my name and number because the car was owned by his sister. Eventually, it was settled, with my insurance company taking care of the damage. As we drove home, I told my wife that someone could do the same thing to us and I would not like it. I have to say, it made me feel good that I did the right thing. There is not enough honesty in the world. Many people feel that it’s a finders-keepers world. But I don’t believe that. People work hard for what they have. The least that they can hope for is that someone will call them or let them know. Thanks for the word, Susan. Have a great rest of the week.” – “Warrior” Joe