Every now and then, typically on a city sidewalk, I’ll find a penny. Occasionally, but much less frequently, I’ll find a nickel, dime, or quarter. While finding one coin may not equate to winning a lottery, much less using a $1 off coupon, it’s still a nice surprise that makes me feel like a kid again, for a brief moment. It’s kind of neat.
Of course, we are all different, and there are some special folks that take particular pleasure in finding these small treasures. This 12th edition of Squirreling Gone Wild explores just how excited some people can get to find very small amounts of money.
First, as I mentioned up front, I do find loose change here and there and it puts a smile on my face. Lately, I have been finding a few coins per week, usually just pennies. When I do find a coin, I instantly think “YES!”. Not that a few pennies are a fortune; in reality, finding three pennies per week equals $1.56 over the course of the year. Additionally, I’ll just give this loose change away anyway. If I get small amounts of money unexpectedly, I figure I can donate it.
That said, it’s a very small thrill that reminds me of how fun it was to be a little kid finding coins. In particular, I recall jumping into a mall fountain with a friend as an 8-year old, trying to pick up pennies that people had thrown in. It seemed like free money to a kid. Our parents, who rightfully expected good behavior out of us, yanked us out in a hurry and told us that we shouldn’t do that!
Now, aside from our exploits as kids, the only other time I had (until recently) seen someone get fired up about finding a small amount of money was a college buddy of mine who found $10 in a parking lot. He spotted it, picked up the bill, then held it up admiring it while quickly saying “YES!”. He was truly excited to pick up that $10.
Recently, however, I noticed someone getting just a bit more excited to find a coin on the pavement.
In this situtaion, there was a heavy downpour occurring which could almost be characterized as monsoon-type rains. I was at a bus stop shelter, barely protected from the rain as it was, when I saw a lady drop something that fell on to the street in front of the bus stop shelter. That part of the street in front of the shelter had collected quite a bit of rain water, and was a dirty puddle at that point.
During a rainstorm like that, when most people are scrambling to get indoors or under shelter, if I drop a coin into a deep and muddy puddle I’m probably not going to worry too much about it.
This lady clearly didn’t see it that way.
She lunged out toward the street, out of the covered bus stop shelter. She bent down to look in the puddle, and then started wading her hand through the water, looking for the coin. The water was dirty, as it collected in a sunken part of the road. Getting soaked by rain, she spent what seemed to be 20 seconds fishing for the coin.
Then, she found the coin she dropped, which appared to be a quarter. She held it up as she turned back toward the shelter, and yelled “YESSSS!”.
Once I heard the “YESSSS!”, I just froze a little bit. My instant reaction was: “Wow, that was a little weird how excited she got and how she said ‘YES!”
It was funny to the point of wanting to laugh right there, but I didn’t. I did, however, keep my head fairly still as I quickly glanced out of the corner of my eye at the other bystanders who were also waiting. Most kept a straight face, but one person made eye contact with me as he smirked. That confirmed to me that it wasn’t just me who noticed how funny this was.
The way she exclaimed her joy reminded me of a scene (below, from YouTube) in the classic romantic movie “When Harry Met Sally”, where Meg Ryan’s excitement caused another diner to say “I’ll have what she’s having”.
I’m guessing she must have really needed that quarter for the bus ride!
This brings me to the question: Just how much happiness does it bring you to find loose change on the ground? If you get as excited as Meg Ryan. I’m not sure I want to know:)
But more seriously, I’m curious if it brings you a bit of child-like excitement, or do you just not care much about finding a coin?