English Reading Practice
Story Number 9:
Watch the video at the top of the page.
Read the story "Don't Do Anything Illegal" just below it.
Do the exercises at the bottom of the page.
Don't Do Anything Illegal
is the Don't
Do Anything Illegal video.
You can watch it in your own language at The Way to Happiness Foundation
click the word "language" at the top right corner of that page.)
Way to Happiness is a common sense guide to
better living which has been distributed to more than 100 million
people in over 100 languages. It describes 21
principles to a better quality of life.
number 9 is "Don't Do Anything Illegal."
read the short story about this important principle.
Don't Do Anything Illegal
is dating a wonderful new girl named Allison, and he really wants to
impress her. After a couple of times meeting each other for coffee,
Jared invites Allison out to a movie. When he picks her up in his car,
she asks why he doesn't put in his seatbelt. Jared laughs and says that
seatbelts are silly.
"But it's the law," Allison replies. "You can get a ticket from the
police if you don't wear your seatbelt, and the law is there to protect
you. I'm sorry, but I won't go with you unless you put on your
Jared is surprised, but he agrees to wear his seatbelt. He does not
want to give Allison a bad impression, even if he thinks that he should
not have to follow the law in his own car.
After a few more dates, Jared wants to give Allison a special gift.
While walking around a department store, he sees a beautiful pair of
gold earrings. He knows Allison would love them, but they cost more
money than Jared has at the moment.
Looking up, he sees that the
cashier at the jewelry desk is busy with another customer. He has his
back to Jared. Taking the amazing opportunity, Jared grabs the earrings
and hides them in his coat pocket.
As he walks out of the store, Jared tells himself that a very rich
person must own the department store. That person will never miss the
earrings, but he will feel so good giving them to Allison.
On his next date with Allison, he gives her the earrings. She
absolutely loves them and gives him a big hug.
"Oh, Jared!" she exclaims. "They are just beautiful. And look, they are
real gold! This gift really means a lot to me since I know you worked
lots of hours to earn enough money to buy
these, didn't you?"
Jared looks at her quietly. He sees she begins to suspect. "Of course,
honey," he finally answers.
Jared can only smile uncomfortably. He feels like he is lying to
Allison. But he knows she does not like people who break the law. Every
time he sees her wearing her beautiful earrings, he feels guilt and
shame mixed with his happiness. Why can't he just enjoy being with her?
Why do those earrings make him so uncomfortable?
One Friday afternoon, Allison and Jared are having coffee together.
They decide to leave the café and go to the park, but Allison says she
needs to visit the ladies' room first. As he waits for her, Jared
notices that all the waiters are busy. He quietly leaves the café
without paying and waits for Allison on the sidewalk. When she comes
out the door, she gives him a big smile and takes his hand.
"Sir! Sir!" they suddenly hear someone shouting. Turning around, they
see that their waiter has come running out of the restaurant. "Sir, I
think you forgot to leave the money on the table. You cannot leave
without paying." He looks at Jared suspiciously.
Allison is very embarrassed, but Jared feels even worse. He goes back
into the café, pays their bill, and apologizes. When he comes back out
onto the sidewalk, Allison looks upset.
"I like you, Jared, but I cannot go out with someone
who breaks the law," Allison says. "If you do not respect the
law, how can you respect others, or even yourself? And what if the
catch you doing something illegal? This just feels too dishonest. I'm
sorry, but I don't want to see you anymore."
As Allison walks away, Jared understands why the gold earrings made him
feel guilty. He will not be able to really enjoy anything he has
stolen, and if he breaks the law, he will always be afraid of getting
caught. After losing a wonderful person like Allison,
Jared realizes that he needs to change his behavior and not do
And now, practice:
1. What does "illegal" mean?
a) something that is
against the law
b) something that is not healthy
c) something that you cannot do outside your own home
d) something that is very impolite
2. What does "shame" mean?
a) a feeling of happiness
b) a feeling of physical discomfort
c) a feeling of guilt, regret, or embarrassment
d) a feeling of anger
3. What does "apologize" mean?
a) to explain why
something is incorrect
b) to say you are sorry
c) to defend your actions
d) to have a debate with someone
1. You ________ get a ticket from the police if you don't wear your
2. This just feels ________ dishonest.
a) too much
3. ________ his next date with Allison, he gives her the
1. What does Allison ask Jared to do on their first date in his car?
2. Why does Allison decide she cannot go out with Jared anymore?
3. In your opinion, why is it important not to do anything illegal?