Anna and the Blue Belt


A true story
Thou shalt not steal (Ex. 20:15).

“Mom,” Anna said, “could we please stop at the next rest area? I need to get out and stretch.”

“Sure,” Mom replied. “There’s one coming up in just a few miles. I guess you haven’t had much chance to stretch since I picked you up after kindergarten.”

As soon as Mom stopped the car, Anna jumped out. There were no other cars, so she ran back and forth along the sidewalk for a few minutes. Then she went into the rest room. The first thing she saw was a shiny blue belt lying on the counter. She picked it up and looked at it. It was almost new. She rubbed it against her cheek. It felt good.

Blue is my favorite color, she thought. This even matches my pants. She tried it on. It fit just right.

When her mother came into the rest room, Anna held up the belt. “Look what I found.”

“That’s really pretty,” Mom said.

“Would it be OK if I kept it? There’s no one here for it to belong to.”

Mom thought a minute. “I think it’s your choice, Anna.”

Anna left the belt in the rest room and went out and sat on the lawn. She thought about what a great belt it was. Then she remembered a story Dad had told them in family home evening about finding a pocketknife when he was a boy. He had left it where he found it because it wasn’t his.

But I bet he didn’t want the knife nearly as much as I want this belt, Anna thought. Anyway, who would it hurt? The owner is long gone.

She thought how impressed the girls at school would be when she wore it. Maybe even her teacher would tell her what a pretty belt it was. Then she remembered the story her Primary teacher had told last week about a little boy who had returned a ball he’d found and how good he had felt about his decision.

Anna went back into the rest room. She picked up the belt and tried it on again. She remembered that she had a skirt it would go with perfectly. She even had shoes that were the same color of blue. She started to leave the rest room wearing the belt, then stopped and looked at herself in the mirror. The belt looked awesome with her pants. But did she like the girl who was wearing it? She took it off and rubbed the buckle with her thumb. She put it back on the counter and left, looking back at the belt one last time.

As she walked out the door, another car pulled into the parking lot. A girl about Anna’s age jumped out and raced into the rest room. A moment later, the girl ran back out, waving the belt in the air. “Mom, Mom, it was still there!”

Anna smiled.

[Honesty]

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Let us be a people of honesty and integrity, doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances.” President Gordon B. Hinckley (Ensign, May 1999, page 89.)

[illustration] Illustrated by Mark Robison