“Karson and the Golden Ticket,” Friend, Nov. 2015, 22–23
Karson walked to the back of the classroom to put his book away. There, lying on the carpet in front of the bookcase, was a golden ticket! He picked it up. His heart beat faster when he saw that the name line was blank.
The boys and girls in Karson’s class could earn golden tickets by doing well in their work or by being extra helpful or kind. Once a week his teacher drew a ticket out of a jar and let the winner choose a prize.
Karson couldn’t believe his luck! Today was the golden ticket drawing, and here was another ticket, just for him. He looked around, but no one else was near the ticket. All his classmates were at their desks, laughing and talking with each other.
Karson decided to write his name on the blank line. Then he could put it into the prize jar with the tickets he’d already earned. With so many chances, at least one of his tickets would definitely be picked! Then he could choose the pink stuffed pig for his sister’s birthday present, just like he had been hoping. He smiled and reached for the pencil in his pocket.
Suddenly his fingers stopped. There was a weird feeling in his chest, and it wasn’t his heartbeat. It’s finders keepers, right? he wondered.
He looked out the window and tried to figure it out. He did find the ticket, but he hadn’t earned it. And maybe whoever lost it was looking for it. But he needed this extra ticket for his great plan! He traced his finger over the blank name line and sighed. His plan wouldn’t be so great if he won with a ticket that wasn’t really his.
He remembered what Dad had told him once when he hadn’t wanted to share with his sister. “When you make a good choice, you can feel peaceful inside. You never have to feel bad about your choice later.”
He put the pencil back in his pocket and walked over to his teacher’s desk. Miss Evans smiled. “What can I do for you, Karson?”
“Uh, Miss Evans, I found this ticket on the floor near the bookcase,” he said. “I think somebody lost it. But these are mine,” he said, dropping six tickets into the jar on her desk. He turned around to leave, but Miss Evans called him back.
“Karson, you know what? I’d like you to have another ticket because you were honest and returned this one.”
“By the way, what prize would you choose if your name was drawn? The big candy bar? Or maybe the fire truck?”
“The pink stuffed pig!” Karson said right away. “It’s my sister’s birthday next week, and I really want to give it to her. That’s her favorite animal.”
Miss Evans smiled. “Well, I hope you can win it for her.”
Karson sat down at his desk and smiled. He still wanted his name to be picked, but he would be happy even if it wasn’t. Dad had been right. Making the right choice did make him feel great, and maybe, just maybe, he still might win the pink pig.