Sandra Griffith sees the good in everyone. That's just the way the soft-spoken, 54-year-old is, rarely seeing her own worth as a GIS Tech III in the Orangeburg County Geographical Information Services Department.
Whether it is helping customers navigate through a series of maps, or returning funds to someone who was overcharged, Griffin has coupled her helping hands with fairness and credibility during a nearly 20-year career with the county.
It is her penchant for being honorable in her principles and actions that has earned her designation as the exemplification of honesty — the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative's trait for September.
"Honesty is always the best policy. That's part of the way that I was raised. I was actually surprised and very honored to be nominated for this. I thank so many people for this," Griffith said.
As an example of her honesty, Griffith went out of her way to return the $12 she overcharged an elderly lady who purchased a map from the county.
In her small talk with the elderly customer, she learned what restaurant she would be dining at once leaving the office. Once the lady left, Griffith realized during her own lunch break that she had overcharged the customer. She did not stop until she found the restaurant, nervously hoping and praying that the lady was still there to receive what Griffith considered her hard-earned money.
She was there.
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"She was sitting in the corner all by herself. After I gave her the money, she grabbed me, hugged me and thanked me. I felt so much better after giving her her money back. In this world today, money's pretty tight," Griffith said. She has no reservations about displaying honesty, which she said can also be exhibited in a warm, sincere smile.
"This is truly a deed that God guided me to do. I listened to him, I did it and I'm thankful and blessed. He had her at that restaurant. There are so many that would have done the same thing that I have done," said Griffith, whose military family also instilled in her the importance of an honest, respectful attitude.
The daughter of Joan Gotch and the late Santo D'Eredita, Griffith has not strayed from her parent's teaching. She served the first 13 years of her county career as an intermediate technician with the county Emergency Medical Services Department.
"Honesty in our role is being truthful with our customers. If we can help them, we help them. If not, we go out of our way and contact people to keep them from having to run around from place to place. We do whatever we can to let them know that we are trying to help," Griffith said. "That's a county principal that we usually try to follow."
The Neeses resident is married to Joel Griffith. They are the parents of Christopher and Heather and the grandparents of Adrianne, 11, and Kyuss, 1-1/2.
"I'm just a doer, but honesty is also just about … smiling. It can turn somebody around in a heartbeat and make them feel better. It's contagious," she said.