Shortly after my 16th birthday, my older brother got me a summer job at the sales promotion firm where he worked in Westport.
The offices of the firm sat in the middle of a pretty big parking area. There were many parking spaces on all four sides of the building.
I drove to work every day in my VW bus.
A rookie driver, one day I clipped a car as I was pulling out to go for lunch. Especially unfortunately, the car was a beautiful new Porsche. [Westport was loaded with Porsche’s.]
Half panicked, I didn’t know what to do. Didn’t have paper or pencil. So I memorized the license plate of my victim and hustled to the police station to report what I’d done and see what I should do.
As I walked in the front door of the police station I could see the dispatcher on the phone. And, as I got closer, I heard him say something like, “Wait. I think he just walked in. I’ll call you back.”
He hung up the phone and looked at me.
I explained what had happened.
He said the person on the phone was the Porsche owner. He’d seen me hit his car from the office building. He thought I was making a run for it, and – having my license plate — had called the cops to report me.
So, says the dispatcher, “It’s a good thing you came in.”
Of course, it turned out the Porsche owner was the founder of my brother’s sales promotion firm. The CEO. His boss.
It was at that point that the concept of ‘honesty is the best policy’ cemented in my pea sized brain.
And, ever since that day, I have strictly adhered to that policy.
Over the past 50+ years, adhering to that policy has cost me dearly.
Especially when I’m up against someone who knows my position, and who doesn’t subscribe to it as well.
But I’m too old now to change.