Getting to do something nice for someone else usually gives us a good feeling for days afterwards. Key word: usually. For one guy, his accidental good deed ending up feeling less like kindness and more like obligation. Because really, what else could he possibly have done?!
I went out to get my hair cut at a local chain store that I go to on a biweekly basis.
I don’t usually request a specific stylist, so I log into the system and take my seat until I’m called by a girl that I’ve never seen before. I find out this is actually her 2nd day here. I sit in the barber chair and we start to exchange pleasantries. She’s quite cute and we are actually hitting it off very well (I know, it’s her job to be pleasant). We talk about common interests an Christmas shopping comes up and she mentions how she needed to this job to afford gifts for her family.
So she finishes my cut and we go back for her to wash my hair. This is by far my favorite part of the whole experience. Getting your hair washed by a cute girl is probably the closest I ever come to feeling like those guys in the movies who have beautiful women feed them grapes. (I don’t know, the analogy fits in my mind). This girl goes all out. Perfect water temperature, massages my scalp AND my neck! I’m sitting here feeling absolutely amazing!
She finishes up, puts some product in my hair and I’m feeling really good about how I look and feel. This girl definitely earned her tip. We walk over to the register and I swipe my card and await the prompt on the screen to add the tip. My total comes to $16.20 with my military discount. A $5.00 tip is more than fair, especially since she went all out with the head massage. I punch in my tip amount and immediately hit the confirm button.
As I wait for my receipt, I watch the girls eyes get huge and she looks at me in excitement. She runs from behind the counter and hugs me! I’m flabbergasted! She starts getting teary eyes and stumbles over herself to say “thank you” over and over. I’m thinking, man, it’s just 5 bucks, but I won’t say no to a hug from a cute random girl.
She hands me my receipt and I start to make my way to the door when I realize what had happened. When I punched in the $5.00, I accidentally hit the 0 an extra time… I tipped her $50.00 instead of $5.00. Oh no. At this point I need to make a decision.
Do I wreck this girls day by admitting I made a mistake, or do I just eat the $66.00 hair cut? I turn around and take another look at her. She’s still so excited, looking close to tears. She’s probably thinking she’s so lucky that this guy just came in, sat in her chair, and just helped her make her Christmas a little bit better out of the kindness of his heart.
I look at my recept again and sigh to myself.
“Merry Christmas!” I turn and leave, leaving a little bit of Christmas spirit and a nice chunk of my bank account.
How endearingly awkward this must have been! I can practically feel the twinge of regret, the knot of guilt, and the mixed feelings of wanting to keep a stranger happy. He didn’t want to be rude…but $50 is a LOT of money! He later posted that feeling bad for losing the money was something he could live with. Feeling bad from asking for the tip to be returned would have been hundreds of times worse. Plus, now he’ll always get great service at that location. Right?
What would you have done in this situation? Is there even a right answer?!
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