Mona was at a watch shop getting her timepiece fixed. Next to the shop was the florist’s. The florist was an old chap, who was watering his plants at the time.


While Mona’s watch was being repaired, she kept an eye on the florist. After some time, a girl went in, shy and tentative. She looked first at this flower then at another before her eyes came to rest on a potted plant. She asked the florist, “How much is this flower, sir?”


“Just ten yuan, girl,” came the reply.


The girl paid the money and left happily with it.


Soon afterwards a car came up the street and pulled over by the pavement. Out of the stylish vehicle stepped a family of three, father, mother and daughter. They walked into the florist’s.


The girl, smartly dressed, asked, “How much is this flower?”


The florist said, “80 yuan, lady.”


Without a second thought, the father pulled out the wallet and paid for it. Happily, the family went back into the car and drove away.


Mona was shocked. The florist had charged two prices for the same flower. She found the old man extraordinary.


When the watchmaker was finishing the job, Mona saw an elderly lady in shabby clothes hobbling into the flower shop, groceries in one hand.


The lady went straight to the seed shelf and examined some bags. “How much is this packet of seeds, sir?” she inquired.


“It’s free, lady. Get one if you need it,” said the florist.


Happily, the lady took up a packet, thanked the florist and left the shop.


Mona was amazed. She had never thought that a trip to the watchmaker would be such an eye-opener. When the watch was ready, she paid the watchmaker and dropped into the flower shop.


She asked the florist why he had treated the customers differently. He explained, “The first customer was shy and timid. I wanted to make her day brighter. The second customer was obviously from a well-off family. Her father was using a government car for the family shopping trip. Didn’t you see the government license plate on it, girl? So I charged her 80 yuan. The last customer frequents my shop. The old lady lives alone, without much to spare for flowers. So the seeds were my gift to her.”


Hearing the words, Mona thought she lived in a very interesting world. And she felt wiser.


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