A Penny’s Worth of Honesty


After completing my education, my family and I moved back to Utah and lived with my parents until I could find a job. Our son Paul, who was almost four made friends in the neighborhood and one afternoon he was playing with them when some apples were delivered to our neighbors. They were left on the front porch. The boys helped themselves to the apples.
Paul brought some home to share with us. He was truthful when asked where he got them. We explained that what had done was stealing and he needed to apologize for taking the apples and use his money to replace them.

We helped him pick out the nicest apples and with tears in his eyes, he reached into his pocket to retrieve his money. He delivered the apples and apologized to the neighbors.

A few days later, Grandma took him to the grocery store. At the produce section, she sampled a grape. Paul watched Grandma and then asked her if she paid for the grape.

“No,” she replied.

“Did you steal it Grandma?”

She tried to ignore the questions but Paul was confused. After all hadn’t he done something similar and gotten into trouble?
While driving home Paul asked one more time if she had eaten the grape without paying for it. “Yes, Paul, I did. Do you think I should go back and pay for it?” Paul said yes, and Grandma replied, “So do I.”

Although she was almost home, she turned the car around and returned to the store. Taking Paul by the hand, she went up to the clerk and said, “Sir, I ate a grape without paying for it. My grandson convinced me that that I should come back to pay for it.” With that, she plunked a penny down on the counter.

The clerk and the people in line looked at her strangely, but Paul was beaming with pride. Despite the embarrassment that returning to the store to pay for a single grape may have caused, Grandma helped Paul understand that honesty should be part of everyone’s life.

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