When Character meets Opportunity

I recently opened a new account at my bank.  We are changing from an S corp to an LLC so I put $500 into that account just to allow us to begin the transfer process.  This morning I looked at my accounts on line and noticed that this new account shows a balance of $50,350.84.  Obviously a banking error of some kind. 

How long should it take me to decide what to do?  Should I entertain the idea that the bank is a big corporate organization and probably won’t even miss this?  Should I consider that I have worked hard to help a lot of people and probably really do deserve this windfall?  Maybe this is God’s providence – I am destined to receive this.  Maybe all that positive thinking is paying off in new ways.  I’ve been eyeing a new Range Rover — perhaps this is just an example of turning “burning desire” into reality.

Do you know how easy it is to start down that slippery slope of justifying anything other than simply notifying the bank of their error?  With $50,000 it may seem obvious.  But what about when the cashier at Best Buy gives you $.51 too much change?  Or when the waitress forgets to add your drinks to your ticket?  Is the principle the same or does a small amount somehow get a different answer?  If so, then where does character take over?  Seems to me the easiest solution is to allow character to prevail no matter how small the amount.  Remember the story about Abraham Lincoln walking six miles to return three cents to a customer he’d unintentionally overcharged while working as a clerk in a hardware store?   It helped solidify his reputation as “Honest Abe.”  I trust that my decisions merit a similar title.

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3 Responses to “When Character meets Opportunity”

  1. Theresa Says:

    Way to go on the new blog, Dan! This looks just super….
    As my Aussie friends would say, Good on you!

    PS My ATM spat out $100 too much not that long ago. I immediately pulled into the parking lot, explaining to the kids what I was doing.
    The teller in the bank just shrugged. Wasn’t their problem…it was the ATM company. (But of course, they accepted the money. I suspect they were wondering over my sanity since my account balance didn’t reflect my small windfall.)

    Other times I’ve had clerks shrug and wave me out the door when it came to overlooked charges. (Including managers!)

    Now more than ever, having integrity requires purposeful action.

  2. Ian Says:

    Great writing Dan, very enjoyable. Cheers on the new blog as well, I plan on following it and applying more of your wisdom to my own professional life. God Bless

  3. Joe Says:


    As you’ve mentioned in your books and podcasts, change is inevitable. That’s part of life. However, one thing that doesn’t change is integrity and honesty. Sadly, those two words are becoming obsolete in our modern lexicon.

    I have a newborn son and one thing that I’m absolutely committed to is teaching him honesty and integrity. There is no substitute; never has been and never will be. Of course, when I was a young boy, foolishness ruled my life. But as I see things through older eyes, I see how vital it is to keep honest, no matter the circumstances. Sure, it’s hard, but if you live your life this way, no matter what comes at you, you can be assured that your Heavenly Father will reward you.

    Blessings to you and yours in 2008!

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