A few years ago, my husband and I were basically living in poverty. We were humbled into getting food stamps ($21/month for two people), and we were so hungry most nights. I had a job, but it only paid enough to cover rent, and I was desperately looking for something better (and so was my husband) … it was a bad time for us. Well, one night we were in the grocery store buying bread, peanut butter, and jelly.
The front of the grocery store had a kiosk where you could buy scratch tickets and scratch them off. I had a habit of double-checking the ones people threw out but never buying any of my own. One was left on the counter top, and I happened to notice that the bottom section was scratched off, not revealing a “B,” “P” or “D” – all codes for losers. It was a winner for $100. I got all excited and started to walk back towards our register when I noticed a family in the checkout next to us. One woman and two small kids. She looked very tired and worn out, and so did the kids. We lived in a really poor neighborhood, so I assumed she was poor as well. She had only a few groceries in her cart. When the cashier asked for payment, she got out some crumbled-up dollar bills and a whole bunch of change.
I felt so horrible. One of her daughters had walked up to me at that point and asked, out of curiosity, what I had in my hand. I handed it to her and said, “Give this to your mommy.”
She said “Ok,” took it from me and went back to her mother. “Mommy, mommy! Look what I found!”
The lady seemed tired and aggravated but decided to look. She had the cashier scan it over at customer service, and she had won $100. She was so happy. She turned her cart back around to get more groceries.
The lady never saw her daughter talking to me. When my husband saw what I did, he said, “Well, I guess they needed it more than we did. Maybe next time.”
$100 isn’t much, but it’s something, you know?
Now the best I can do is leave high-value coupons next to products I won’t use in the grocery store.
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