My story today is a scenario between two of my dear, long-time friends.
Marah left her pill bottle in Sophie’s car when they’d each traveled a day to get together. Neither realized the problem until Marah was home unpacking her bag.
Sophie eyed the strategically placed bottle every time she passed by it. She realized Marah can feasibly go a couple of days without if she must, but she won’t replace the bottle until her payday over a week away.
The following day, Sophie stuffed the bottle with cotton to keep the contents from rattling around, put it into a bubble mailer, made a label and headed to the local shipping office.
At the business counter Sophie asked her friendly, neighborhood customer service guy if she could overnight the flat for less than $10. He politely said no. Because she was slightly on edge, she blabbered on that ” My friend left her “meds” behind.” Immediately realizing she may have just blundered, she added, “but for $10 she can get another bottle at Walmart.”
The savvy employee deliberately said, “I must ask, are there prescription medications in the package?” Amazingly, Sophie didn’t think, but immediately responded, “Without a BATF license number on a [specific type] label, shipping a controlled item or substance would be illegal.” She later told me she also immediately looked around as if to see somebody else actually said that.
Not certain why, she felt nonetheless relieved when the guy surprised her with a similarly relieved look, smiled and said, “That’s what I was hoping to hear, Ma’am. Slide your card… here’s your tracking number… Have a nice day.”
Both the customer service guy and Sophie realized she didn’t actually deceive, and yet as she told me the story she had been uncomfortable with that gray area for longer than she wanted to be. Since the package arrived the following day, Sophie, the guy and I are the only ones that actually know about her fast footwork. Granted, she could have put herself under some degree of scrutiny. But I feel much better about the actual scenario than I felt about the image of Marah, semi-lucid, flailing and drooling on the concrete floor at work, somewhere in the back of her mind wishing she hadn’t left the bottle behind.
Days later after Sophie shared the story in friendly conversation, I recalled a scenario where Jesus advised a plaster saint to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s.”* Though I’d probably trip much the same as Sophie had, I too am often thankful for amazing grace. I suggested she confess any perceived wrong, embrace the greater good – and of course, torment Marah with the story whenever appropriately convenient; i.e.: the bill for lunch arrives, reaching for the tray Sophie says, “Marah, remember that time you left your pill bottle in my car…”
*The Bible, Mark 12:15-17, King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain