Honesty is the best policy!

I was reminded of a good lesson today.  It was the kind of lesson that kicks you in the knees when you realize that you have to sometimes live out the very lessons that you teach your kids.

This morning my wife was at Wal-mart with our two youngest kiddos, when my four year-old found a dollar bill.  Like most girls her age, a dollar is the same as a million bucks, and opens up a world of opportunities; trips to Disneyworld, new toys, etc…  But her “mean Mommy” made her give it back.  So, out of her little hand went the dollar bill along with a lesson about honesty which is worth more than a dollar.  (and Mommy bought her candy, a nice touch.)

And there there was my day…

At Watermark we have been in the process of renewing our licensing for our Aruba wireless controller and needing to upgrade our licensing to support the additional access points for the new building.  We have received the upgrade quotes, and the entire bill will run nearly twelve thousand dollars for the license upgrade.  It’s a significant chunk of change… a lot more money than I want to spend.  However, today I found out that Aruba made a mistake, a big mistake.  After spending a bit of time looking at our wireless controller, I discovered that instead of the 48 access point license that we bought several years ago, Aruba somehow mistakenly had given us the very license keys (for 128 APs) that we need for the new building.  It was like finding a twelve thousand dollar bill on the floor at Wal-mart…  Except that it couldn’t be right?  Could it?   So I called Aruba to find out for sure… and sure enough, both sales and the system engineer confirmed that the license is valid.

Except now they know what I know…and now that they know that I have something I didn’t pay for, I still have to renew my support on Aruba.  Renewing my support means paying for the upgrade after all because I can’t just do the 48AP support renewal and pretend that everyone is happy.  They can’t do it, and neither can I.   It just wouldn’t be right.

I believe that I work hard to steward the resources that God has blessed us with at Watermark.  It would have been really nice to have saved that money.  I would have really liked Aruba to have come back with a “it was our mistake, so you don’t need to pay the difference, just use it…”  But they didn’t and I was selfishly a little disappointed.  I’m guess I’m hopeful that they will give us a better deal on the price because of our honesty.

Then again, we don’t do the right thing because we hope to get something for free, or a better deal.  We do the right thing because God tells us to.  In Luke 16:10 Jesus tells the disciples, “Who can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (NIV)   Paul in his first epistle to Timothy says to “Cling to your faith, and keep your conscience clear.  For some people have deliberately violated their conscience; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” (1 Tim 1:19 NLT)

So whether it is a dollar on the floor or twelve thousand dollars tied up in obscure licensing mistakes… Honest always is the best policy.

Questions;  How have you wrestled with these types of situations?  How did you handle it?  What areas of growth have you seen personally from behaving honestly?


  1. I wish I had the Aruba problem to worry about.

    Seriously though, kudos for your honesty.

  2. Mark McLaughlin says:

    Thank goodness your daughter didn’t find a fiver on the ground. Your Aruba whatever point problem could have been more like a $60K issue which really would have tested you :-}

  3. When you’re in a profession that offers so many opportunities to do something that you could justify as “the right thing” but you know in your heart it’s not, you have to have your moral bearings. I could recommend things to my clients day in and out that I could easily justify to a lawyer or regulator, but I would know it wasn’t the right thing to do. Thus, at the end of the day, I have to look myself in the mirror, not them – so I put my clients first. That way, I can look the next client in the eye, and with a clean conscience, tell them that I can show them what is in THEIR best interest, not mine. That way, everybody wins.

    Nas (the rapper) said it best – “because you are who you are when nobody is looking”. :)

  4. Scott, I have been through the same thing several times, often with software licenses. This post us a good reminder that honesty is worth the price and (oftentimes) hassle of “truing up” your licenses when your staffing increases, even if you’re too small to get decent treatment from volume license sales. (I’m talking you you, Adobe.)

Speak Your Mind