Nineteen-year-old Joey Prusak was on duty at the Dairy Queen counter in Hopkins, Minnesota, when a blind man placed an order. As the man paid, a twenty-dollar bill slipped from his pocket and fell to the floor. The woman behind him quickly snatched up the bill and stuffed it into her purse. When she stepped up to the counter, Joey asked her to return the money to the blind man. She refused, claiming she dropped the bill herself. Joey knew better, and when she still refused after his second request, he declined to serve her and told her to leave the store. He remained calm as the woman blasted him with an angry tirade and stormed out the door.
Joey went directly to the table where the man was eating, explained what had happened, and gave him a twenty from his own billfold. A customer who witnessed the scene e-mailed an account of it to Dairy Queen. The store posted the e-mail, someone photographed it, and put it on Facebook, and the story went viral. It was soon reported on newscasts and in newspapers across the nation, and Joey was inundated with calls and accolades. He even got a call from Warren Buffet, whose company owns Dairy Queen, thanking him and inviting him to the next shareholders meeting.
Why did this teenager’s heartwarming deed draw so much attention? Because while we live in a world where cutting moral corners is the norm, our hearts know we were made for better. We long for a world in which integrity is our way of life, and deeds like Joey’s are the norm.
We may not see that world in our lifetimes, but we can create that world within ourselves. That’s what we do when we strive to live with integrity. Stories like this remind us that if a nineteen-year-old working at a Dairy Queen can live with such integrity, we can too. In these troubled times, that’s deeply reassuring.
There have always been people who boast about “getting away with it,” who cut moral corners, or believe the rules don’t apply to them. But today it’s different. Popular culture celebrates such people; and today’s technology constantly parades them in front of our eyes, discouraging our efforts to live more truthfully.
David Jeremiah, A Life beyond Amazing: 9 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life Today (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017).
I have just completed a series of lessons based on David Jeremiah’s book, A Life Beyond Amazing. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year.