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  • Katherine Dudley Hoehn

Raising the bar

Monarch on the agapanthus

Parking in a shady spot at the doctor’s office, I obeyed the “Florida rule” of cracking my windows to reduce heat accumulation. After my appointment, I returned a work call as I was backing out of my parking space. I knew I should have waited to use the mobile phone.

The small red sedan was in the handicapped parking spot behind me. I could make excuses about the short distance between cars and the parking lot being full. But it was completely my fault for not giving driving my full attention. There seemed to be no damage on the red bumper or my aging silver SUV. I left my business card with an apology note stuck in the driver’s door, suggesting they call me. With my phone back in my purse, I backed out of the parking space. Once on the road, I returned the call that had ended abruptly with an expletive only a few minutes earlier.

I was ready for the day to be over when I answered the phone and heard the sweet voice of June (not her real name), the owner of the red car.

June thanked me for leaving the note. Her car was undamaged and she said I made her day because I did the right thing and “people just don’t do the right thing anymore.” She thanked me again several times. I suggested she see my blog, to know a little about the person who backed into her. She responded that she already knew a lot about me because of my note. I hope she reads this because I want her to know that she made my day.

I got a verbal “like” for doing the right thing. She forgave me for the inconvenience and turned it all around and practically made me feel like a hero for doing the only thing that I could have done. We both acknowledged that it is a very sad time in our world when we expect most people won’t make honest and right choices.

Do you know where your compass is?

We can only do our best to be good examples for others. While I don’t think of myself as a particularly outstanding role model, I do try to be a steward of the earth and fess up when I know I have done something wrong. My fear is not that there aren’t good role models, but that the bad ones get the attention and confuse everything.

We set the bar too low. We don’t expect that people will follow the rules anymore and are surprised when they do.

In addition to common criminals, popular public figures, including some sports heroes, business leaders, medical and legal professionals, politicians, and even some religious leaders, have gotten away with or received undue attention for being dishonest and that has lowered the already low bar for basic good conduct.

Every resident of our country needs their own compass and a reminder that the instructions, The Ten Commandments, have already been written.

Help raise the bar by giving those who do the right thing a verbal attaboy. Let’s see if we can turn this trend around. Meanwhile, compasses make great gifts.


Thank you to to the wonderful staff at Hobby Lobby, who helped me find this lovely compass in their store, then unwrapped it and allowed me to photograph it without purchasing it (mine at home isn't nearly this pretty).

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Aug 02, 2021

I have been pondering lately as I observe instances where humanity is celebrated as heroism. It's not a bad thing. I'm always up for a celebration of daily gifts and miracles. But your point is well made... our culture has drifted from its natural state in many ways. Bravo to "Jane" and to you for recognizing and celebrating the best of human nature.


Jul 27, 2021

Katherine, I love that you wrote about this. Same thing happened to me once (except that I actually did damage the gentleman's car) and when he called me back he was amazed as well and spent more time thanking me than anything else. You're right--time to raise the bar!


Jul 21, 2021

What a lovely article and a nice reminder for us all to "Just do the right thing"!


Jul 16, 2021

This is a beautiful message and makes me want to be a better person and "raise my bar".

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