During my years in the US Military, I did many things but I only wrote down 9 stories to keep remembering. here is my story number 9.
I believe that every platoon has someone like Private Simpson. He was the type of person out to get the most for the least amount of effort. Private Simpson was from down south somewhere like Alabama. I am sure that growing up as a young black man down there had something to do with how he lived his life. He had direct deposit of his military checks into a checking account. The trouble with checking accounts is that you always have more checks left over at the end of your money.
I am unsure even to this day if what Private Simpson did was intentional or not when he first wrote a check to the Post Exchange for which he did not have sufficient funds in his account to cover. I do know that when the company First Sergeant told me to take Private Simpson to the bank after payday to have him withdraws the cash he needed and then escort him to the Post Exchange to pay for the bounced check that this was important.
I knew that Private Simpson was embarrassed to have others know of his problem. After the bank we went to the Post Exchange. Being the sensitive soul I was, I did not want to add further to his pressures so when Private Simpson asked me to wait in my car while he went in to pay his bill I said I would. He went in and 15 minutes later came out. I did not ask to see the receipt for the payment. I really should have. I wanted to believe he was an honest man who made an honest mistake and has now corrected it.
Two days later we were both called into the company first sergeant’s office. We called him “Iron Jaw” both because he wore braces and also because when that man was upset his jaws looked like they could chew woodchips from petrified trees. It seems that Private Simpson had lied to everyone about his actually paying his bill. I got in trouble because I failed to go with him and make sure he did what he was supposed to do. My team was taken from me and I was made the driver for another team. Disgrace on top of embarrassment caused me to have hard feelings towards Private Simpson ever after that incident.
I learned some very hard lessons that day which I have employed ever since then:
1. No one is perfect except Jesus.
2. Never allow your sensitivity to other people’s problems keep you from doing the right thing.
3. Just because people “Want” to do what is right; does not mean they will or will all the time.
4. It is better to allow others to suffer embarrassment as a consequence of their own actions than to be punished for you own not doing the right thing.
5. Jesus saves, God forgives and so can I.
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