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The Value of Character

     My children were eight and six and we were walking out of a Bi-Lo grocery store when I decided to purchase a soft drink. The store brand was only twenty-five cents and that was all the change I had on me at the time. I told them that they would have to share one between them. I inserted my quarter and as luck would have it, out came two soft drinks. Both Josh and Britney saw this as their lucky day.

     I handed them one drink and told them to go on to the car where their mother was waiting. I returned the drink to the customer service counter and informed them that their machine was being rather generous. I returned to the car and as I got in I heard a statement that I have never been able to forget. My six year old daughter looked at her brother and said "I told you that he would take it back."

     Everytime that I think of that day, the question that goes through my head is, "What if I hadn't? What if I had kept that twenty-five cent coke? What if I had considered it "my lucky day" and allow both of the kids to individually enjoy a soft drink? The answer is always the same: I would have lost credibility with the two people I need it with more than anyone else on earth.

     Never underestimate those "little" day to day decisions that you make that either prove or destroy your influence, because they show your true character.

David Swanger, Pulaski, Tennessee

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