How does spending three weeks of your summer vacation in England and France sound to you? I was fortunate to be a part of the People to People organization and was very excited to travel with 32 other high school students from Central California. The summer of 2006 was one I will always remember and one that my conscience will never let me forget.
I was rooming with two of my fellow student ambassadors, Donald and Brooks, in an elaborately decorated Parisian hotel. It was around 9:00 in the evening when Donald decided to leave the room. About an hour later we received a call from room 179. “Hey guys come over here. We are having the craziest party ever!” Sensing there was alcohol involved, I became infuriated and yelled “Donald get back over here! You are going to get us into trouble!” Donald hung up and Brooks and I looked at each other nervously. Just then we heard the door handle jiggle as if someone was trying to get in. The voice on the other side of the door yelled “Room check, open the door.” Brooks and I started to panic as the voice was one of our delegate leaders, my stomach dropped and my heart started racing. I hurried to the door, tripping over my suitcase in the process, and cracked it open. I gazed upon the leader who was staring at me strangely. “Is everyone in there?” she asked discontentedly. “Yes,” I answered as calmly as possible. I waited several minutes then went down the hall and spotted Donald . He was on the floor with a half filled bottle of Vodka on one hand. The situation looked really bad. Donald was not only a minor but he is an American student ambassador representing the United States. I had to push him down the hall and finally got him back inside our room with the help of Brooks. I could not imagine what kind of trouble I would get in while in Europe and especially back at home!
In the morning there was a big group in the lobby and four angry looking delegate leaders. When I asked what had happened, one of the kids replied, “There was a drinking party last night and someone squealed on them.” One of the leaders, Christine, called me over to her and asked what I know and I told her that I was sleeping the whole time. All the kids that were at the party that night were sent home three days into our trip.
I am so thankful that I did not get persuaded into joining the party. What a shame for the kids who made that wrong decision. They missed out on an adventure of a lifetime. Suffering that consequence was definitely not worth the hour of “fun” that these kids claimed they had. My parents were so relieved that I made the right decision of staying away from that party. They also made me realize that not telling the truth has its own set of consequences. I was grounded for a month for not telling the delegate leaders what I know. I tried to argue that I thought I was doing the right thing by taking care of Donald. They wouldn’t hear of it. Deep down I knew that it was wrong for me to lie. You better believe that I’ve learned my lesson. I will always consider what happened in Paris when making choices and consider whether that choice could hurt me or others.
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