“Even if life is difficult, honesty is a value I live by. And it is the same value that I hope to pass on to my children. “

It was the 4th of July, 11:00 in the morning in the charming city of Cebu. People started filling up the mall for lunch. A woman in her early 40s hurriedly approached the customer lounge counter. She had a concerned look about her face. “Miss, did anyone happen to return a pouch here? I believe I left it in your comfort room cubicle last night.” she inquired as she leaned over the counter. Worry strained her voice. “May I ask your name ma’am?” said the attendant with a smile.  “I’m Joan Calvo,” she replied. “Ms. Calvo, you’re looking for a pouch that you possibly left in our premises last night–this way please.” Joan was then ushered to a room with four other women in it. It was the mall’s concierge.  When they were there, as a standard procedure, Joan was asked to describe the contents of her lost pouch. “I have P64, 747 cash, four checks amounting to P750, 222.99 together, a passbook, a check book, and a rosary in it.” she complied. The look in the faces of the people around her didn’t offer much clue as to what to expect or feel. This stirred agitation inside Joan. “Ma’am,” JessavylMonteza, the concierge clerk, finally said after a moment of silence.  She was with two other ladies in the room: Hazel Yari, the mall’s auditor; and Myra Jane Ruiz, the customer lounge in-charge. “From what you just described, I think we have what you’re looking for. We currently have it in our vault for safekeeping. One of our lounge attendants found it handed it over to us. You’re lucky, ma’am.” continued the clerk. Joan wasn’t expecting what she just heard.  Joy swept the worry off her face. She sighed a sigh of relief. She was half convinced that he wouldn’t be able to recover her pouch and all her money in it. Then she immediately thought, “Who’s that employee? How honest of her to return my pouch especially with the money in it.”


The night before.

July 3, Iris was at her usual post, attending to customers in the lounge. Iris is a single mother of three. And like any other mothers, she feeds them and pays for their education. On top of that, she has rent and other bills to pay. Each month, she makes ends meet with the P7, 800 salary she earns from her job. At the counter of the comfort room cubicle, something black and translucent caught her eye. When she came near to it, she saw that it was a pouch. As she inspected it closely, she could see money in the pouch, a whole lot of money. Iris’s heart raced for a moment. She looked around the comfort room and saw no one besides her. As she held that pouch, the thought of her three kids and the bills she needs to pay came to her mind. But another thought struck her. It was a memory of her tending her mom’s retail store. She remembered one fact, that she never ever stole a single centavo from her mom’s store.


At present.

“May I know who that kind employee is? What’s her name? Can I meet her so that I could thank her in person?” Joan asked. About that time, two other women had just entered the room. One was Jeannette Japson, corporate communications manager of the company that operates the mall. Another was dressed in white. She had her hair pulled up and tied to a bun. She looked to be in her early 30s. “Oh, here she is” one of the ladies said. “She is the same woman who turned in an IPhone and a tablet in the five months that she’s been with us.” one of the ladies added. With excitement in her heart, Joan turned around to look. “Good morning ma’am.” was the woman’s warm greeting. “I’m Iris Melodia.” she announced. “What a good morning, Iris. Oh, my God, thank you so much. I’m Joan Calvo. And I couldn’t thank you enough, I tell you.” Joan said as she shook Iris’s hand and hugged her. Obviously, they were both overwhelmed and happy. “Can I help in any way to return this huge favour you just did for me? I can give you monetary reward if you want to.” Joan offered. “I can’t take any money.” Iris responded. An extra cash would’ve given Iris relief from her financial difficulties. But despite her financial needs, Iris declined the reward. It was enough for her to know that the pouch was and its contents was returned to its owner. “Maybe the company could reward you in any way.” Joan suggested. “Actually,” Ms.Japson interrupted, “Ms.Melodia here has a chance to be nominated for the Customer Excellence Award. An award the company gives out annually to all deserving employees like Iris.” “Iris, thank you.” Joan said with all the sincerity she has. “It’s very rare to find people like you nowadays.” “Ma’am, the money isn’t mine. I didn’t earn it. It’s only apt to return it. I’m merely following what my parents taught me, to be honest. Even if life is difficult, honesty is a value I live by. And it is the same value that I hope to pass on to my children. God blessed you ma’am.” Iris told Joan. “God bless you, too.” Joan couldn’t be more awed and humbled at the honesty of Irish. After retrieving her belongings, Joan who stepped in that mall with a troubled look earlier that morning was now all smiles. She thanked everyone for taking the time and going through all the trouble with her. As Joan leave the mall, feeling secured, she caught a new resolve in her grateful heart. “One day, I will be able to help you back,” Joan told herself.


This narrative essay is an adaptation of a news story found on this link: Honesty is her nature

Let the kids show you what Honesty is. Check this enlightening short video.  Let’s not cheat


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