YOU (South Africa) - - SAY -

IWORK as a cashier in a con­ve­nience store. Re­cently a cus­tomer left his wal­let on the counter. It con­tained bank cards, his driver’s li­cence and R1 200 in cash. I put the wal­let in a safe place, know­ing the owner would cer­tainly come back look­ing for it.

In­deed af­ter about an hour he came back and asked me if I’d seen his wal­let. With­out hes­i­ta­tion, I re­turned it to him with a smile. When he was sat­is­fied that the con­tents were in­tact, he just said thank you and walked out. Sub­se­quently my col­leagues crit­i­cised me for not hav­ing re­quested a re­ward from the man. There was such a big fuss that at first I re­gret­ted my de­ci­sion to let the man go freely.

But I soon came back to my senses and cursed the kind of peo­ple so many of us South Africans have be­come. How can I ex­pect to be re­warded for do­ing the right thing? By putting the wal­let in a safe place, I was help­ing my fel­low hu­man be­ing. That’s hu­man­ity, that’s ubuntu. It was up to him to de­cide whether to re­ward me or not. Some of my col­leagues said I shouldn’t have given him his wal­let back. It bog­gles the mind how peo­ple can crit­i­cise oth­ers for not steal­ing. They seem to for­get that what goes around comes around.

The world gives us back what we put into it. As hu­man be­ings we must help one another with­out ex­pect­ing com­pen­sa­tion. We’ll get it when the time is right. M SEREPO, EMAIL

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