The Trust Factor

Twice a year we have to take our car for an emissions inspection. Our latest turn to do it was November/December. So the Friday before Christmas we took it to the same place we always take it to get inspected, knowing it was in great shape. Our little 2004 Stratus has about 50,000 kilometers on it, so we knew it should pass without any problems. We were wrong.

They did the normal prodding and running it through the machine, and when they finished, the guy told me that it didn’t pass. When I asked what it was, he said, “It could be anything.” I was (to put it nicely) very upset. They couldn’t tell me why my car failed inspection, and they told me I had to take it to a mechanic and get it re-inspected by the 31st of December. That would be a problem for me since I was planning on driving it to Oaxaca for the camp that week.

An older man who was getting his car inspected told me that they were probably just looking for a “prize,” meaning that the guys who were working there wanted a bribe. I continued to ask them what was wrong with my car and they had the same old story about how it could be anything. They said I could bring it back for free and that we could even get it inspected on another machine right then if we wanted. Having better things to do, I left and decided to wait to deal with the car.

The Academic Dean at the Seminary told me that he had a friend who usually would take his car to get verified who could do it for me if I wanted, so I asked him to take care of it while I was in Oaxaca (I decided to take a plane instead of driving 8-12 hours).

Last Tuesday the guy took it to get inspected for me to the same place and they told him a completely different story than they had told me. He was going to have to pay again because it hadn’t been 5 days (even though they had told me that I could re-inspect it the same day). So he took it to a different place, and, guess what, it passed with no problems at all.

A Lesson in Trust

I tell this story, not because I want you to see the corruption that exists in the world, but because of something I learned about trust through this story. The truth that I learned is: “If you can’t trust someone (or something) 100%, then you really can’t trust them at all.”

This applies to all of us, and I believe it applies especially to leaders. Once there is doubt in the mind of someone about whether they can trust you or not, you have lost their trust altogether. When trust has the slightest crack in it, the person who has lost trust in you is placed in such a horrible situation. When doubt creeps in, trust is difficult.

We should do our best to establish trust with people, and once we have gained their trust, it is important to do everything possible to hold onto it.