I know what you are thinking, and you are probably right. This seems like a stupid question. After all, the answer is obviously… No. (Isn’t it?)
Let me tell you a hypothetical story about a young man, his name was… uh…. Jacques Bate. Yes, let us call him Jacques Bate.
That sounds good.
Jacques went to the airport to pick up a family member last week. (Hypothetically of course. This may not have happened.)
While he was there, he arrived behind a nun driving a tiny car. Do they drive any other kind? She was clearly waiting for someone on the same flight as he was, and when he went to pay for his parking on the way out, he was in the queue behind the two nuns at the automatic pay machine.
The nun who had come to collect the other one was quite distressed. She has paid her money, and received her ticket back. Now she wanted a receipt for the R10 she had just paid. (To put this in perspective, R10 is the cost of a small fries at McDonalds.)
The problem was that you could only get a receipt if you pressed a button marked “receipt” before you paid your money.
She had failed to do so, and now could not figure out why she could not get a receipt. So they gave up and walked away.
Mr Bate quickly paid his R10, and requested a receipt. Now he had arrived at the same time as the lady, and left at the same time as well. So their tickets were almost identical.
The problem was… if he offered the receipt to the nuns, would they accept it? It is not like they would be cheating anyone; they had really paid the R10, and just made a mistake. But taking it would be lying, wouldn’t it?
So Jacques gave it to them, and told them it had got stuck in the machine, and he assumed it belonged to them.
They took it without question, and walked away relieved. (Clearly even nuns are afraid of other nuns, and the convent book-keeper must be a real terror.)
Now this post is not to tell you what a wonderful person JB is. This whole thing might be hypothetical, remember.
It just got me thinking… is it actually wrong? Technically it is lying. Even if the motive is good. And nobody was hurt. And somebody was helped. And the truth was not damaged. (The receipt was for a real payment.)
But JB knew that they would not be able to accept the receipt with a clear conscience, so he made a decision to be the one who told the lie.
What do you think?
Hypothetically of course.