Abstract: One feels good when an honest deed is done.
It was on an early morning in July 31 2015 that I went to the bank to draw a banker’s check for payment to the Customs Department for the General Sales Tax (GST). It was the last day to make the payment, failing which a penalty would be imposed on our company.
The Customs Department was quite far away, so I had to rush, as usually there was a long queue. There was a one month period to file the GST returns, and I being the usual Joe-next-door would always make it on the last day and at the last minute.
In my haste, when I reversed my car, I knocked onto a BMW car, which was parked properly on a parking lot. I got down from my car to access the damage. Oh shit! The car plate on the front bonnet came off entirely, though there was no dent on the car body. It was a brand new car by the serial number on the plate.
I took a few pictures on my iphone. I was hard pressed for time and it didn’t strike me to leave a note on the car.
There was nobody around. So I drove off.
Three hours later, after I had settled the GST payment, I went back to the bank’s premises, but the BMW car was gone.
Over the next two days, I made several trips to the bank premises hoping to see the car again so that I could pay for the damages. The car didn’t appear.
Then I saw the security guard and left him a note with the BMW car plate number and my phone number. I asked him to pass the note to the car owner if he happened to come across it.
I received a text message in the morning on August 3, 2015 from the car owner. Say, let us called her Ms May. Naturally, she was very upset as it was a brand new car. But at the same time, she appreciated my honesty in owning up to the little mishap. She mentioned that she was glad that there were still some honest folks around.
After a few messages on the phone message box, we switched to Whatsapp, which to this day I have not deleted them. I labelled it as Car Plate Bmw. I didn’t get to do screen-shots on the few text messages that appeared earlier on my phone message box and there were all lost when I changed my phone.
She text me to say that she had to take it back to the BMW workshop to change the plates. And the car plates were sold in pairs. A simple car plate in a run-of-the-mill signage workshop would have cost Rm20.00 for a plate.
I replied that I was fine with that.
The cost came to Rm248.95. On August 11, I made a payment of Rm250.00 to her designated bank account.
I did not mention the above matter to anybody, except that one day while I was chatting with my mother, I told her about the mishap.
“It’s well and good that you own up to your mistake, though you can get away with it. Though you have to pay for your honesty, you sleep better at night.” She said with a graceful smile.
Good O’ Mother of mine!
The matter was laid to rest.
Somewhere around 3 years later on a beautiful morning, out of the blues, I received a phone call from an old Rotarian friend of mine, a Ms Kay. We used to belong to the same Rotary Club in Kuala Lumpur. We had not met for some years but we kept through Whatsapp.
“Hey Arthur! Do you remember a lady by the name of Ms May?” Ms Kay said.
“Huh! Ms May, not that I can recall.” I said. Jokingly I continued, “Why? Did I owe her any monies?”
“Three years ago, you knocked into a BMW car and damaged the front car plate. Then you disappeared, then you went back to leave a note, then you paid up.” Ms Kay said.
I could only visualize that Ms Kay was having fun, and the way she used the word ‘then’ was quite comical.
It took me a moment to catch on.
“Oh! Yes, that was umpteen years back. I knocked into her brand new BMW. Then I disappeared because I have to make an urgent GST payment.” I was laughing and having some fun too.
“Do you know Ms May?” I asked again.
Ms Kay explained that Ms May was a close friend of her. The previous day, Ms May was browsing through her Facebook and she caught sight of my face on Ms Kay’s ‘friends’ listing. Ms May may have recognised me from the small icon picture on Whatsapp. So Ms May had called her to see whether this was about the same Arthur.
“You are damn honest, Arthur.” Ms Kay said. “One of these days we do lunch, ya!”
“Hello dear, one of these days is none of these days. Sure, we do lunch next year!” I laughed lightly as this was only a February morning, still a long way to go.
Yes, I had disappeared after the matter was settled. All these while, my conversations with Ms May were only through Whatsapp message, there was no phone call at all. We shall keep it this way, but I know that I have a good friend out there, who called me an honest folk.
Wasn’t it nice, that when you had done an honest deed and you did not tell anybody, and after a long period of time someone found out about it accidentally.
That morning I felt good, very good indeed, exuberant in spirit, exalted in honor, vigor and vitality coursed through my blood stream. I felt so light hearted that I could have sing without a voice, I could have dance without legs and I could have fly without wings.
Ms Kay had just made my day!