Later that afternoon, Joe (not his real name) called and thanked me for leaving him the note. Previously, others had damaged his car but they preferred to remain anonymous. He proceeded to tell me that he planned to take the car to a body shop to get an estimate of the repair cost. I told him that would be fine. However, I urged him to take the car to a reputable shop. He agreed. I had dealt with body shops before and estimated for myself that a reputable shop would charge somewhere in the $300-$500 range. For the average person and body shop, this is usually the minimum cost for even the most minor of damage....unless you and the body shop person are personal friends.
The next day Joe called to tell me the body shop quoted him $350.00 which he found outrageous but I found to be "about right." (I too think $350 is outrageous, but that is what auto repair shops charge). I told Joe that I agreed to pay that amount but asked if it be okay if I paid him next week after I received my next paycheck. I had previously looked at my checking account balance and found I had only $275. Joe agreed. A few minutes later, Joe called back and offered to lower the cost to $250 if I could pay the next day. He felt the fee charged by the repair shop was "too high." He wanted to give me a discount for "my honesty." And he wanted the matter settled as soon as possible.
I told him I wanted to be fair and pay him what he was due. But, he insisted. So, we made arrangements to meet the next day and was in the process of ending our call when he said, "Okay, see you tomorrow, Henry." I then corrected him, "My name is Howard. I'll see you tomorrow."
The next day we met in the parking lot of TD Bank. After I had handed him the check, we chatted a bit. It was then that Joe confessed to knowing me. You know me? It seems, he didn't realize who I was until I corrected him on my name. It suddenly dawned on him....that voice sounds familiar! It turns out I had regularly preached at his church, but he didn't realize who I was until the end of our last phone conversation. Even after Joe told me of "our previous encounters" I had no recollection of him. Welcome to my world...where countless people in the congregation know me, but I rarely know "I know" them.
Being honest pays...although admittedly, not always so...at least as long as we walk in this world. Thank you Joe for giving me a discount for my honesty. You were a blessing to me that afternoon.