by Dr. Michael Sisson 

Years ago in an eastern city, a young boy was walking down the street. As he passed an old-fashioned hardware store, he noticed a sign which read, “Help Wanted.” The boy was in need of money, so he went inside. The old man who ran the store described what he needed done, and the young boy nodded halfheartedly, “Yes, I could do that.”


He began working that same day, but this young boy wasn’t too excited about working. Every time the boss turned his back, the boy sat down. He stretched his ten-minute break to twenty and only did what he had to do. That afternoon the old man sent him upstairs to the attic with instructions to clean and sort the items in a large chest. The young boy looked at the huge chest with hundreds of bolts, nuts, and other items inside and thought to himself, “that old man never comes up here; he will never know if I sort these items or not.” So the boy sat down and took a nap. At the end of the day, he went downstairs. 


The old man asked, “Did you get everything sorted?”


“Sure did,” replied the youth with a smirk on his face. The old man paid the boy for his work but told him he did not need to come back.


The next morning the “Help Wanted” sign was back in the window. A second boy applied for the job and was put to work. He was a little better worker than the first, but not by much.


That afternoon, he was given the same instructions as the boy from the first day. He also went upstairs and looked at the huge chest, but he did begin to sort through the hundreds of screws, nuts, and bolts, although he was doing it only halfheartedly. After a while, he saw something that looked out of place. Sure enough as he looked closer, he saw a twenty-dollar bill under some of the junk.


“Boy, this is my lucky day,” he thought as he hurriedly stuck it in his pocket. For a moment, he thought maybe he should give it to the owner. But then as he looked around the dusty attic he thought, “That old man never comes up here; no telling how long the money has been here, and no way to know who it belongs to. Besides, ‘finders keepers, losers weepers,’ is my motto.”


At quitting time, he went downstairs. When asked, “Did you get everything sorted?” he replied, “Boy, I sure did.” The old man paid him for the day’s work but told him he did not need to come back.


The next morning the “Help Wanted” sign was back in the window. A third boy saw the sign and applied for the job. This boy, unlike the first two, was excited about working. He worked hard all morning, not even stopping for his scheduled break. That afternoon he was given the same instructions—“Go upstairs; clean out the large chest.” He began to sort and stack all of the bolts and nuts and organize them as best as he could. Just before quitting time, he saw something at the bottom of the chest. It was a twenty-dollar bill. When he came downstairs, the old man asked, “Did you get everything sorted out?” 


“Yes, Sir, I sure did,” replied the youth, “and I also found this.” He handed the old man the twenty-dollar bill. “I guess someone must have dropped it while working up there.”


“Thank you,” replied the old man, “and you can come back tomorrow. The job is yours.” However, the story doesn’t end there. That young boy worked in the store all through high school and college. When the old man died, the store was left to the boy who was honest.