The Gravy Ladle

“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” -Harvey MacKay

I read this story in Harvey Mackay’s new book, “The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World” and  loved it! I had to share it with you:

“A mother was invited for dinner at her son Brian’s apartment. During the course of the meal, Brian’s mother couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Brian’s roommate, Jennifer, was. Brian’s mom had long suspected a relationship between Brian and Jennifer. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between them than met the eye. Reading his mom’s thoughts, Brian volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Jennifer and I are just roommates.”

About a week later, Jennifer came to Brian, saying, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?” “Well, I doubt it,” Brian said, “but I’ll send her an e-mail just to be sure.”

So he wrote: “Dear Mom: I’m not saying that you ‘did’ take the gravy ladle from the house, and I’m not saying that you ‘did not’ take the gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner. Love, Brian.”

Several days later, Brian received an e-mail back from his mother: “Dear Son: I’m not saying that you ‘do’ sleep with Jennifer, and I’m not saying that you ‘do not’ sleep with Jennifer. But the fact remains that if Jennifer had been sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the ladle by now. Love, Mom.”

It takes a lifetime to build a reputation of integrity, trust, and good character. It takes one bad decision to destroy the reputation we’ve built. None of us are perfect, but most of us know right from wrong. Let’s get back to the basics of integrity: do not lie, do not steal, do not cheat, treat others as you would want to be treated! Let’s get accountability! Let’s do whatever it takes to live with integrity before people and before God!

“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” -Harvey MacKay


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