I Lent $20 to a Stranger
It is not the first time I have done this. Most likely won’t be the last time either. One reason is that $20 would never break my budget.
My First Opportunity to Lend $20
The first time I decided to lend $20, I thought a little bit before offering it. I was sitting in the small quiet hotel lobby waiting for our room to be ready. It was in Alexandria, Virginia which is not far from Washington D.C., the spring of 2009. A young woman was trying to check into the hotel. Since the lobby was quite small, it was not hard to overhear the conversation at the front desk. She had just had lost her wallet. With no I.D., they would not let her check in to her paid hotel room.
She did not ask the clerk or anyone for anything. She was quite distressed about losing her wallet. She appeared to be in her early twenties, possibly a college student.
I felt sorry for her and quite frankly couldn’t think of anything that I could do to help. So I thought that perhaps $20 would be of help. Which I offered it to her. She thanked me and promised to send me the money when she got home. I handed her my business card.
My friend who was with me, thought I was completely out of my mind. He couldn’t understand why I would even want to help a stranger, let alone give them money. He thought I would never see my $20 again. Much to my friend’s surprise, I received the money a few weeks later with a lovely card thanking me for my kindness.
My Second Chance to Lend $20
My second opportunity to offer $20 occurred in mid-November 2017. I was shopping at an outdoor farmer’s market on a cold, windy Sunday. A woman ahead of me, had meticulously picked out spices, several handfuls of brussel sprouts, and a select number of loose salad greens.
The young man at the stand was working his first day selling the produce. He told the both of us that he was not given any bags at all. I excused myself to get a bag from my car. When I returned, the woman had commandeered paper towels from another vendor to wrap her loose greens and spices. She had a cloth bag and after carefully packing the produce was told, she could not use a credit card.
She peeked into her wallet and found $7. Not enough money since the clerk was requesting $25 for her purchases. I always know to bring cash to the farmer’s market, because most don’t take credit cards.
Normally, I only have enough cash to cover my intended purchases. Rarely do I have any extra money with me. However, this Sunday, for some unknown reason, I had an extra $20 with me. With little hesitation, I offered to let her borrow $20. We were about to exchange names and addresses when Sherrie realized she had her checkbook. It worked out fine. She was quite grateful. And in case you were wondering, the check did clear.
It Pays to be Kind
The young man working the stand was so impressed, he gave me the two onions and garlic I was buying for free. However, I did pay for the cauliflower. He did not expect to see such thoughtfulness especially since NY/NJ metropolitan area is not known for people being kind.
Are there circumstances that would make you consider doing this? Or is this something that you would never think of doing?