Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Doing the right thing feels good!

Sometimes life tests you to do the right thing, and today was no exception. We filled up our boat with gas at a small dock on Shuswap Lake and the experience did not go smoothly. The dock and old gas pump are part of a restaurant on shore. There was no attendant on the dock or any signs, so we were unclear how to purchase gas. After wandering around the docks and then up to the restaurant we were told someone would come turn on the pump. It took a while but a young guy came down and got things started. He was a local kid and the dishwasher at the restaurant. He said the restaurant had been very slow this season, and the few staff who still had jobs were doing double and triple work.
After our fellow completed filling our tank, my wife followed him up to the restaurant to pay. While she was gone, I looked at the old gas pump with the rolling style numbers and noticed it read - $81.76 and 124 litres. Hmm, that's a great price for gas at 65¢ per liter. There must be a mistake, it should be $181.76 ($1.46 per litre). I bet dollars to doughnuts the kid will read it wrong and under charge us. So when Sandy came back, I asked for the receipt - yup $81.76 - the kid under charged us $100.
I decided to go up to the restaurant myself to sort it out. I didn't want the kid to get in trouble, after all I was the one distracting him with questions about his summer and the restaurant while he filled us up.

At the restaurant, I hunted down the owner and explained the situation, making sure to note the kid made an easy mistake. But it was the reaction form the owner that really caught me off guard. He explained how things were tight, and losing $100 from the bottom line would really ruin his day. He was choked up, and thanked me for taking the time to correct the mistake - "Most people would just drive away," he said.
Back at the boat, I told Sandy about the owner and how good it feels doing the right thing. My 2 boys who were on board were taught a valuable lesson too, I would say. 
Now for my confession... something people close to me know about me. Systems - I love systems in business, and when things don't go according to systems, I get a bit irritated. That was my motivation to see the owner - To let him know he has a BIG hole in his gas bar system. It's just my nature. I would have never considered driving away without paying, but it sure did feel good after knowing we did the right thing.
Now I wonder if I could go back to the owner and draw out a better system on how to make his Gas Bar more efficient??