I didn’t know Randy Folsom very well. I was only around him a few times, each of those times being just a brief encounter. But 20 or so years ago, Randy told me a story that I still enjoy.
Our Board of Directors of Bank of Dooly had a late afternoon meeting once every month. Afterwards, we would have a nice meal at Daphne Lodge. Randy was there one night. He came over to the table to speak to everyone. That’s when he told us about something that had happened at work.
Randy had a large road construction business with lots of employees. Paychecks were distributed each Friday. On one of those recent Fridays an employee, named Shack Dawson, had spoken to Randy about an error in his pay.
“Mr. Randy,” said Shack, “Y’all shorted me four hours on my check this week.”
Randy said he apologized to Shack for the error. He told him that he would take care of it. He said he would get his daughter, Kelly, who handled payroll, to correct it.
Randy went to the office. He told Kelly what Shack had said, that he had worked four hours more than he got paid for.
“That’s right,” said Kelly. “Last week we overpaid him by four hours. He was supposed to work Saturday morning, but he didn’t show up. This takes care of the overpayment.”
“Shack,” said Randy, “Kelly says that last week we paid you for four hours on Saturday, but that you didn’t come to work. What about the four hours we overpaid you? You weren’t going to say anything about that?”
“Mr. Randy,” said Shack, “I figured I would allow y’all one mistake, but I wasn’t going to let you by with two.”
Randy went back to the office. He told Kelly to pay Shack for four more hours. She was curious and somewhat amused. “You want to pay Shack for the four hours that he didn’t work?”
Randy confirmed that he did. He told her what Shack had said. He told her that a story that good was worth way more than four hours of pay.
I don’t know how many other times Randy may have told that story. I’ve probably told it 50 times, or maybe even a hundred. It’s funny, and it’s clean. Those qualities alone make it worth sharing.
But its’ appeal goes well beyond humor. It’s a good lesson on where we place our priorities, a reminder that we sometimes focus too much on the little things. We can get so caught up in the small details that we fail to see the big picture. Sometimes we look downward too long, cautiously studying the pebbles at our feet. That can cause us to miss out on the upward view, the grand and splendid scenery of sky and mountains and more.
Randy could have saved four hours of payroll. Instead, he recognized a better opportunity. He spent a few dollars for a happy ending.
Shack left work that Friday pleased to have a little extra in his paycheck. Randy left work glad to have a jewel of a story. Twenty years later, I’m still enjoying it, still passing it on, still thinking it is a rare and almost perfect blend of laughter with a lesson.
I didn’t know Randy Folsom very well, but I’m glad he came over to our table that night. One thing I do know for sure. Randy was right. That story is worth way more than four hours of pay.