A penny for your … effort

— January 22 —


I was at Target one evening, about a half hour before closing. Once I got inside I realized my lips were dry, so I reached into my pocket for my lip gloss, and in the process I knocked a coin out of my pocket. It sounded like a penny and so I almost kept on walking without looking at it. But curiosity got the best of me so I stopped and looked back. Sure enough, it was.

Now, I never bother to pick up a penny off the ground when I see one. I’ll always leave it for a little kid to get excited over. Sometimes I even drop or throw a few spare pennies I find in my pocket or purse onto the sidewalk, hoping it will make some little kid’s day.

But this one dropped out of my pocket while I was inside a store. I considered just leaving it there, just walking on by, but something felt wrong about that. You don’t just drop things on the floor and leave them there when you’re shopping, even if it’s money. That feels like littering.

So I went to pick it up, but before I could, a young boy of about ten or twelve, who was walking behind me with his family, jumped forward and picked it up and held it out for me.

I felt I could do nothing other than accept it from him and say thank you. After all, the boy was too old to get excited over a penny, right? But to take it from him made me feel like a stingy old miser.

So I accepted it with a thank you, and then after a moment I asked, “ya want it?” The boy hesitated only slightly and then said “Yeah!” I handed it to him and we both giggled. I walked away feeling generously silly, and he and his family chattered and laughed about it in Spanish so I don’t really know how he felt about the penny itself. But I assume he felt good about it and it sort of made his day, like it did mine. Not for the value of the penny, but for the humanity of the exchange.

But in any case, it was one of those little human to human encounters that added a little bit of sparkle to the rest of the evening.


One response to “A penny for your … effort

  1. That’s a cool story. And that’s my two cents for you. Everything nice thing we do for others eventually comes back to us with interest–eventually.

    Wrote By Rote

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