This I Believe

CJ - Bainbridge Island, Washington
Entered on January 26, 2007

I believe in Karma. I am not a religious man in the conventional sense and have not attended church since I was a child, but I have a deeply held belief in the Golden Rule. Call it “what goes around comes around”, or “ do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, or “you reap what you sow”, or a number of other variations, the basic concept of treating others well will benefit one in the end. Virtual all the major religions claim a variation of this concept and I have tried hard to live my life thusly.

I have always intuitively known this simple truth, without obvious examples proving it . I just went about helping stranded motorists, kicking in a dollar for the person in front of me in the supermarket checkout line or other small kindnesses without dwelling on it. I’m sure these simple kindnesses were returned many times in ways that didn’t attract my attention … until a year ago.

I am semiretired and drive a taxi two days a week in my small island community. Late one night, I picked up several unrelated passengers at our ferry terminal. This is a charming custom that allows the small number of available taxis (often only one or two) to accommodate larger numbers of people with destinations in the same direction. We just drop them off as we reach their individual stops. This night, my final stop was at the south end of the island, and I made change for a $20 bill. Following the next ferry’s arrival, at the first stop, I began to make change and discovered a $50 bill in my pocket. A quick analysis pointed to my previous stop where I made change for a $20. In my momentary confusion, I muttered aloud about the situation and how I would have to return to the house to rectify it. My next drop off tendered a very generous tip with a comment about being rewarded for doing the right thing.

Despite the late hour, I dropped my last fare and continued on to the lady’s house, finding the lights out. I knocked, awoke my fare and corrected the mistake, much to the delight of this new arrival to Bainbridge. As I smugly smiled on my way back to the ferry, I remembered a $2 winning lottery scratch ticket in my pocket, and stopped to trade it in for another. My intuitive belief in the power of Karma was instantly cemented when I scratched off the three lines and found winners: $10… $20…$20. Ten minutes after doing the right thing, I was fully reimbursed.

Many may attribute this incident to coincidence or fate, or even an angel, but I know better. I believe in Karma!