Twelve cents. Two pennies and a dime. It’s not much. Not a lot you can do with twelve cents. You certainly can’t buy anything for just twelve cents anymore.
We were sitting in the food court filling ourselves with grease and cheese in the form of humongous pizza slices. She was standing at the counter ordering. We heard the tinkling sound of change scattering over the floor. She bent and picked up a couple cents not realizing there was more she had lost. Or she was ignoring those pieces of money in her embarrassment of heads turning to see what had happened.
The boys were transfixed.
“There’s still some on the floor, Mommy!”
“She didn’t find all her money.”
They wanted so badly for her to get what belonged to her. They ached to go get that money and give it back to her. Torn between fear and wanting to set things right, they sat and talked about what to do. They knew they shouldn’t talk to strangers, but they knew what was hers. It took risk.
“Do you want me to go with you?”
Their eyes lit up as exuberant “yeses” escaped their lips. I took my boys’ hands in mine and we gathered two pennies and a dime. Searching the seats on the food court, we spied her. Grubby hands clutched copper and silver like it was worth a million dollars. I tapped her shoulder and smiled. Hands placed small change on her table. Her eyes widened.
“They saw you drop your money and you missed some. They were so worried that you didn’t pick it all up, so they wanted to bring it to you.”
She wasn’t sure what to say. She smiled.
“Oh. Thank you.”
The boys smiled and we returned to our table. They were content. They had done the right thing. They had taken the risk. And Saturday I saw just how invaluable twelve cents is.