For those of you who remember phone booths, how many ever made habit of checking the coin return for loose change? My family did. Soda machines, newspaper vending machines, pinball, laundry mat – you name it, we’d check it. My Dad once found a nickel in a phone booth in Vegas. Locating a one-arm-bandit where us minors could oberve, Dad was going to demonstrate to the children how fast you can lose a nickel in a slot machine. Slid the nickel in, pulled the arm, and wound up $16.00 richer – so much for that lesson. Of course, there’s the other camp, where the mere notion of sticking your finger in such unknowns, freaks ’em out – germs!
I have a handful of stories about finding money. And this week’s find produced my biggest payout, even though there isn’t much story to it.
That’s right, a Benjamin!!
With this bounty of inspiration, I thought I’d share a couple of my more interesting stories of money I found.
One of the most bizarre stories, was eons ago while leaving a night club – I know, “bizarre”, right there. Anyway, late in the night I get accosted by this irritated man telling me to give back his money. He demanded I open my purse now, and “give me back my money”. I tighten the grip on my bag, friends surround to show unity, yet this guy keeps buggin’. Soon after, we recruit a bouncer at the door to escort us to the car. But, of course, the guy’s gone, melted into the crowd – poof.
Next day, grab my purse, dig for keys, and no kidding, my bag is loaded!? Wads of cash, small bills totaling almost $70 bucks! WHAT?! Disbelieving, I call the club to ask if anyone reported missing money. After hearing my story, the morning barkeep seems to think my purse was some sort of quick dump. Assumes the miscreant was pilfiring tips, was caught redhanded, and needed some sort of abrupt ditch, aka my purse. Tells me to keep it. OK friends, next round is on me!
Another time, I was in a situation where I actually needed to find money. See, in a time before ATMs, and faced with an oversold train, 7 hours before the next one, you must get creative. Short of street performing, the answer was, start looking for some cash. And, that’s what we did. Phone booths in the Oslo train station were plenty, but the payout was paltry. That is, UNTIL we discovered the floor grates inside said booths: bonanza! Change galore in there. And that was it, our plan was in motion.
With pantomime drama, as if we were being watched, we’d move into a phone booth, reach for our coin and then, in shock, mouth agape, hands on cheeks, we’d looked in horror as our invisible change “fell” through the floor grate, forcing us to move the thing to retrieve it. . . along with all the other loose change in there.
Who does those things? Clearly, I do. Or, did?
In case you haven’t played this game before, thing is, once you get a decent payout, you just can’t stop looking for it, and you spend your time with eyes to the ground. Heck, I can’t go to the gazebo now without a quick walk around to see if there might be any more loose bills floating around – even though I know it’s quite a long shot.
Have you ever had a lucky find?