Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Shop That Stayed Open on Christmas


--by UrbanAshram, posted Feb 19, 2009

Shopkeeper Tom Algie faced a dilemma over Christmas  --  how to give himself and his three staff time off but without letting down his customers.

So he came up with a solution to suit everyone: leaving the hardware store open with an honesty box.

He left a note telling shoppers who came in on Boxing Day to serve themselves and then leave their payment in the box he had rigged up. Perhaps astonishingly, his plan worked.

Trusting shopkeeper Tom Algie wanted a day off and left his DIY store open with a note and honesty box - and returned to find £187 inside

When Mr Algie, 47, returned at 4.15pm to close up, he was delighted to find the shop in Settle, North Yorkshire, had taken £187.66  -  and two euros.

The father of two said: 'I didn't think twice about leaving the shop open. Settle is a lovely quiet rural town and there's never any trouble here. I put my faith in my customers and I wasn't disappointed.

'It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I just wanted to spend the holidays with my family but thought it would be quite nice to open up the shop.'

As well as the cash, Mr Algie also found some notes of thanks.

One read: 'Thanks Tom. This is why we moved to Settle. This shop would have been cleaned out in two-and-a-half minutes in Bolton.'

Some of the comments left by grateful - and honest - shoppers

Another said: 'I've just come from the centre of Manchester. I forgot just how lovely Settle is. This has made my day.'

The honesty box  -  which he dubbed his newest member of staff  -  was made out of a funnel and plastic cereal box, and put behind the counter at his shop Practically Everything.

His note read: 'Yes, I have given everyone the day off, including me, so please choose the items you want and place the right money inside, Merry Christmas.'

Customers also left notes saying what goods they had bought and this, combined with a quick check of his stock, confirmed that Mr Algie's trust was not abused.

Instead of being behind the counter, the divorcee had spent the day with his son Joe, 23, and daughter Beth, 18,

He added: 'When I got back, I could only see one £5 note in the box and perhaps my faith in human nature was slightly shaken.

However, the long tube was stuffed with notes and change, and after a bit of vigorous shaking, the day's takings spilled out on to the kitchen table.'

The biggest amount was £17 for a set of three-step ladders.

Mr Algie, who saved the store from closure when he bought it six years ago, believes he was not short-changed as people put in a little extra if they did not have the right change.

[Original story here.]
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Readers Comments

Happysean wrote: What a great creative way to solve a problem in front of you and believe in the power of goodness in others
rosemary wrote: Wonderful story and great to know there are trustworthy people out there, wish i lived in such a place! Honesty is the best policy!
sheila wrote: Great story. Very touching to know these people are out there.
norman wrote: You certainly live in a lovely town and well, your customers are one in a million. Thanks for showing faith in fellow human beings amidst the reservations which often hold most of us back.
Ed wrote: Mr. Algie,
You are a good example for us all of daring to bring out the best in the human race.
bluebell wrote: Lovely place to live. Simple endless trust to love everyone (settle) love and light, bluebell
lizziebees wrote: What a lovely commentary on trust and kindness. We also have an honor system. My husband sells $10. 00 bundles of wood. We place a box at the back door reading please deposit money for wood in box. Thank you. We have had no problems for 15 years
Tim wrote: Nice to know that places( this town), and people( the store owner, the shoppers) like these still exist.


Great story
Patrick NP wrote: It confirms my firm belief that there is good in all of us. I know from experience as a self employed person who has had customers 'not doing the right thing', but accept it as 'their need was greater than mine' because it is so. Greedy people are different. Thank you for sharing this with us. Patrick
hotcocoa wrote: That's a great place to live, i wish i lived there :)
So great to know there are still more and more people out there who are honest and people who believe in others honesty :)

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