A friend of mine lost her purse twice in the last 2 weeks. The first time, she got a call that it had been found on a highway before she’d even noticed it missing. The second time, she left a store and realized she’d left it in the cart, and went back immediately. While waiting at the Customer Service Desk to report it, someone turned it in.
Both times, all the money was missing. Frustrating, for sure, but sadly not unexpected.
It reminds me of something that happened when I first moved to this area. It was a small action, but I’ve remembered it for over a dozen years, so that tells you how impactful it was.
We lived in a little tiny place in a scarcely populated area. I drove 70 miles to work each way, every day. The nearest gas station/convenience store was 7 miles from our house. The next closest one was an additional 18 miles away, so the Y’all Stop was a pretty regular stop for us. It was owned by a married couple, Toni & Ray, who considered it a “retirement job”. They lived in a little house adjacent to the store.
New people in the area, especially those from big cities (like we were) or those with no blood relatives (aka ‘kin’) in the area (like us) were often viewed with suspicion. People weren’t unfriendly, but you definitely weren’t one of them. You didn’t “belong” right off the bat. So it was for Steve & me and the kids.
We moved in at the end of February, and I started my new job the first week of March. Sometime in those first couple of weeks, my middle child and I had stopped at the Y’all Stop for something or other. It was uneventful.
Several days later, I stopped in for gas. There was no “Pay At The Pump” option, so I went in to settle up after filling my tank. Toni was getting used to seeing us, and recognized our vehicles. As I approached with my wallet, she said “I have something for you.” From underneath the counter, she pulled out a wrinkled $1 bill, with a note paper-clipped to it. The note read “The brown haired girl who moved down by Moore Bend. Her Mom works at the newspaper.”
My daughter, when digging into her pocket to check the balance of her allowance those days before had dropped a dollar on the floor. Someone found it, and made sure to turn it in so it would find its way back to her.
Still in my big city mindset, I was left almost speechless. I thanked Toni profusely, and asked her to pass on my thanks to the gentlemen who found the dollar bill and turned it in. She waved it off, and started asking about how we were settling in. She bought my coffee that day, the first of many days that she would offer me a cup while we chatted.
We moved to a different home 7 years ago, with different nearby gas stations. Toni & Ray sold the store, and moved away to be closer to their children and grandchildren, to finally and officially retire. The new owners made a go of it, but I understand that it’s no longer in business.
That is still the most meaningful dollar anyone has ever handed me.