When Life Gives You $9

Since it is the holiday season, I wanted to share this story…. well, I have been wanting to share it for like a month now, but haven’t really gotten around to writing it up. Rainy weather = Becca working.

When we were at John Prince Park Campground, you had to buy coins for the laundry room instead of using just quarters. Not all parks use these coins and here at Lion Country Safari, their laundry room uses just quarters. Sadly the John Prince Park campground doesn’t let you exchange any leftover coins for your money back.

I had one roll left and wasn’t going to use it before we left the park. Since “snowbird” season is upon Florida, (meaning a lot of northerners come south for the winter), I decided to find some people in the park and give them my coins. I didn’t want any money for them, I just wanted to be kind.

There was a very lovely older couple from Canada that was just getting their camper set up. I walked over to them and said hello and told them I wanted to give them some coins. The lady insisted she pay me for them. I told her kindly, I didn’t want the money, but she went in and got $9 and gave it to me. I said thank you and went on my way.

Moving to a new campground is usually a stressful event, just because we have to pack everything up, put the dogs in the car and head out. It takes a couple hours to get set back up once we arrive at our destination. So, I really wanted some Starbucks. I plotted my route to the nearest one on the way to the new campground. I did have $9 now that I wasn’t expecting to have.

Route was set and we were on our way. Now, I’m not sure if you know much about South Florida, but there are a lot of “beggars” on the side of the roads. At any intersection, you will see anywhere from one to four people panhandling. Most of these people do this because they make a TON of money. So, I don’t normally give money to people. Mostly because I never have cash.

As I was getting off of the highway, there was a man standing at the light with a cardboard sign. Honestly, I don’t even remember what the sign said, but the look in his eyes was something I didn’t normally see in the “beggars”. This man was older, gray hair and beard, scrawny, and his eyes were filled with sadness. He wasn’t walking up to the cars like most people do, he was just standing there with a backpack and this cardboard sign.

Waiting at the light, I went back and forth in my head about whether or not I should give him this $9 in my pocket. Seriously, down here there are so many people who don’t do this because they have no other options. They do it for the money.

This light was taking forever! I remember because I went back and forth so many times on giving him the money. Right before the light turned green, I rolled down my window and called the man over. I handed him the $9 that I did not expect to have. His eyes. This man had been torn down. He was sad. He was desperate. But he was kind. He said thank you and God bless you and walked back to his corner as the light turned green.

Wow. That encounter was different. That $9 that the woman at the campground gave me, was meant for this man at this moment.

All of this to say, when life gives you something you don’t expect, or even need, take it as a blessing. Whether it is a blessing for you, or a blessing you can pass on to someone else. Be kind to one another. Spread cheer instead of spite. Spread love instead of hate.

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