The Summer after my Junior year of high school, I got a job at Subway making sandwiches. Yes, I was a sandwich artist.
I usually worked at one particular shop, but would occasionally be called in to help other shops who for whatever reason were short on workers. For about a week, I filled in at a shop that, embarrassingly, I no longer remember where it is located. I can picture the faces of all the people who worked there, but as far as actually locating it on a map…not a chance.
Anyway, this shop’s manager was a very beardy guy who was very friendly but also a little eccentric. My usual coworkers were Ninja Guy and Pedantic Guy.
Ninja Guy was really into martial arts, though you would not be able to tell it given his paperclip-thin frame. One time he accidentally chopped the end of his finger off with one of the big knives. He just threw it in the trash and said that he would regrow it using his chi. The manager sent him to the hospital
Pedantic Guy was one of those guys who always sounds like he’s slightly tired of having to explain things to you. I got along fine with Pedantic Guy because some of his little nuggets of wisdom were actually quite helpful, and all I had to do was tell him how impressed I was with his knowledge and ability at regular intervals and I was his favorite person.
One day I was helping close the store, so Pedantic Guy and Ninja Guy weren’t there, it was just me and the manager. The manager left to go to the bank, leaving me in the store by myself. Which was fine, since by that point I knew what I was doing.
A little while later, the store phone rang. I answered, and it was the manager. He asked me to go check next to the store computer to see if there was a stack of money there. I checked, and there was. Quite a fat stack in fact.
I told him that there was, in fact, a stack of money next to the computer. He told me to hang tight until he got back to the store.
He arrived some time later, out of breath and sweating (the bank was close enough that he usually just walked, but far enough away to be a decent walk). He said “I’m glad you’re honest” and then went and grabbed the money and left again (I think this time he drove, which makes sense since it was Summer and he had already sweated out most of the water in his body).
I had not really even considered taking any of the money. I was, I would guess, no more honest than the average teenager, maybe slightly more than some thanks to a good upbringing and my needs generally being met, but for whatever reason that stack of cash was not at all tempting to me. My brain just registered it as someone else’s money, and I would no more take it than I would drive someone else’s car if they left the key in it or eat from someone else’s plate if they got up to use the restroom.
The only reward I got was that I didn’t have to wait around for the manager to cash me out that night, since he told me I could go ahead and leave after we closed everything down. Honestly, that was good enough for me.