The road to …

I always try to do The Right Thing. I endeavor to be honest and to be considerate and to generally consider the needs and feelings of others. Although I do not subscribe to any recognized religion, I believe that my personal “code” aligns well with most mainstream faiths. I do my best, but I fail all the time; of course I do – I am human. But I feel that it is trying that counts.

I do sometimes question whether trying to be helpful is always the best practice …

Yesterday, my car needed some attention and I took it to a local guy, who soon sorted it out. Then it was time to pay and, of course, out came my credit card. Now the problems began. His card reader was quite happy with my card, but was unable to complete the transaction with the bank. He tried about six times to no avail. The guy asked if I would mind calling in again sometime, or he could phone me when the machine was sorted. I said that, as I was passing the place this morning, I would call in. I like the fact that he trusted me – he would have had quite some difficulty if I had proven untrustworthy. Of course, I did go there this morning and his machine was working fine. He told me that it had been no trouble after I had left the shop yesterday. Another customer commented that he was very trusting and he must lose money that way. He said “No. I have trusted people to come back and pay lots of times. And nobody has let me down yet.” I liked that.

Evernote Snapshot 20161026 115058Almost every day I go swimming first thing and today was no exception. I go to a couple of different places, but today it was the pool at the local spa. I arrived, got changed and went through to the pool. I dumped my towels on to a lounger [almost always the same one so that I can find my stuff easily], put my glasses on the adjacent table, grabbed my goggles [which have corrective lenses] and headed to the pool. While I was in the water, a couple arrived and spent a long time getting themselves settled in the poolside area. There is a certain kind of spa visitor that likes to get things “just right”. They settled to read their books and I ignored them.

In due course, I got out of the water and went to have a sauna. I went to grab a towel and put down my goggles and was surprised – alarmed actually – to find that my glasses were not where I had left them. This was a big concern, as my vision is really quite bad without them. I did not need them instantly, but would in due course. I was just looking – rather short-sightedly – around my lounger, when the guy from the couple who’d recently arrived came along. He explained that he had not seen me in the water [I had been outside] and assumed that the glasses had been lost and handed them into Reception. He offered to go to retrieve them.

Although I was irritated, I did not give him a hard time, as he had clearly realized his own error and had only the best of intentions. But I felt that this was a good example of [him] trying to do the right thing, but, in the process, causing someone [me!] anguish. There is a fine dividing line between helping and interfering – we all cross it sometimes, I am sure. I am reminded of the old saying “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” …

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2016/10/27/the-road-to/