Monday, January 27, 2014

Only six dollars

Today when I was at the Grocery I was standing in the aisle and pulled my phone out of my pocket to look at a recipe. I gathered up some of the things I needed and as I looked down in my basket something on the floor caught my eye. It was some money rolled up. Not very much money but when I picked it up I looked around to see if anyone was standing nearby that could have dropped it.

Immediately a vision of John Quinones with that show "What would you do?" flashed into my head and I almost laughed looking around for him.

 Now it could have fallen out of my pocket because I had worn these jeans the other day AND I roll my money like that AND I had just pulled my phone out. But I didn't know for sure.

So I just stood there for a minute and thought of all the times I had lost money.

When I was in 6th grade I lived with my Mom and my six year old brother in some apartments right next door to a strip mall. It had a TG&Y and a Grocery  and a Otasco store.

 I would go shopping for my mom to get things she needed sometimes. This day she took her last six dollars out of her purse and sent me to buy milk, cereal, eggs, and bread. I also got to have apple as a treat.  I put on my coat and walked to the grocery store the money all wadded in my sweaty little hand.

I got a basket and walked over to the dairy and I spotted the apples and went over and tried to pick the biggest one I could find since I knew I would have to share it with my brother. All those beautiful red apples I looked through the pile til I found the biggest one there. I went and got all the other groceries and when I got to the cashier I reached my hand in my pocket for the money and it was GONE.

 I checked all my pockets,  I turned them inside out,  I looked all around. I left my basket and in a panic I retraced my steps all the way back to the apples. Now most kids could have just gone home and said "Sorry Mama I lost the money" and get scolded and then Mom would have probably just gone to the store herself. But I couldn't do that. I knew my mom would be so upset she'd probably cry. And our cupboards were pretty much bare not to mention those groceries were breakfast for the next week.

I sat down on the floor feeling my hot cheeks  and a lump the size of New York in my throat , barely able to hold back the tears threatening to flood, and dreading facing my mom. Someone cleared their throat nearby and I looked up to see Miguel who worked there.

 I had a crush on him and would talk to him while he stocked the shelves he was SO NICE.

I hoped he couldn't see that I had been about to cry. He stood there in his red apron and jeans with his hands on his hips and asked, "Hey what are you doing on the floor?"

"I was looking for six dollars I lost."

"Want me to help you?"

"Yes Please."

We looked and looked but it didn't turn up.

He said," Wait right here I'll be back." Then he walked into Customer Service and shut the door. I could see a lady there inside who looked at me several times. I was so embarrassed. Then Miguel came out and motioned for me to come over to the window. The counter came up to my chest.

"Miguel says you lost some money today."

"Yes it was six dollars."

"Well someone turned it in its right here, be more careful OK?"

She handed me the money and I said "Thank you so much, thank you thank you! I hugged Miguel and he patted me and said "Better hurry home before you get in trouble."

I did get those groceries and hurry home. My Mom scolded me for Lolly gagging I had actually been at the store for over an hour.

I often wondered later if anyone had really turned that money in or if Miguel had given it to her to give to me. Back then min. wage was only three dollars an hour and he might have made a little extra carrying out groceries but not much. So if it was his money it was a sacrifice he would have felt.

 I headed up to the front I stopped at the desk and asked the customer service lady if anyone had lost some money. She said "No Ma am, you should just keep it because if you turn it in it goes to corporate." I left my number in case anyone did ask about it. I figure nobody will because people don't think much about one dollar bills.

But it made all the difference to eleven year old me.

 So thanks Miguel wherever you are...

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