A family--husband, wife, and son--that recently moved here from Houston has been coming to church for a while, and I arranged to have lunch with the wife, Sue, on Friday. Her birthday is coming up, and I decided before I left to meet her at the restaurant that I would pay for her meal as a present. I grabbed a bill out of the envelope of cash I had just gotten from the bank to cover day-to-day expenses for the next couple of months, which had eight $20 bills and one $10 bill, and stuck it in my pocket.
I don’t carry a purse around town, so that was all I had.
Sue arrived, and I told her I would pay for our food in honor of her birthday. When the cashier gave us the total ($16 and change), I handed her the bill. And she stood there holding it, looking expectant, and repeated the amount, and I said “I gave you a $20,” and she said, “No, you gave me a $10” and she held it up. Sure enough. I had managed to miss all of the $20 bills in the envelope and instead pulled out $10.
Sue stepped into the breach, whipped out her credit card, and said “and we will put the rest of the cost on this…”
Eventually I knew I needed to shut up and stop apologizing, so I did, and we went on to have a pleasant lunch together.
How embarrassed was I? Had a hole opened in the floor, I would have happily crawled in and pulled the linoleum back down on top.
But I have learned a lesson. The next time I decide to do this, I will actually look at what I have in my hand.