The Two-Dollar Bill

The Two-Dollar Bill

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Two-Dollar Bill

Returning from a trip to Washington, D.C., I arrived in Anchorage at about 2:00 A.M. on a Monday morning in the middle of May. At 9:00 A.M., I was scheduled to talk at a local high school to students in a program designed to keep pregnant teens and troubled kids in school.

The school is highly secured because most of the kids are troublemakers who become involved with the law. I found it very difficult to address this multicultural group and talk about things that could motivate them for the future. I wasn’t making any headway until I started talking about what I do so well, helping people with money.

I took out a stack of $2 bills and I started giving them out. People started coming up and taking them. The kids started to wake up because it was free money. The only thing I asked them after they took the money was not to spend it on themselves. I told them that they each had children that are unborn and, maybe, if there is anything in this world that could help move them forward, it is the fact that someone cares enough to do this.

Some of the kids asked for my autograph, some did not. I think I honestly touched some of them. I started exchanging the dollar bills for a copy of the book I had written. This went on for five or six minutes and I finally closed with telling them about my grandfather, who had motivated me to go forward. I told them that no matter what happens, to remember that whether it is a teacher or themselves, someone out there really cares about them and is pulling for their success.

This is not the end of the story. When I left the classroom, I told them to call me if they ever had problems or if they were ever in trouble. I couldn’t promise that I could help, but I was willing to listen and willing to try to do anything in the world. I also told them if they wanted a copy of my book to call my office. I would be happy to send one to them.

Three days later, I received a crumpled piece of paper in the mail. It was from a girl who heard my talk.

Dear Floyd,
Thank you very much for taking time to come and talk to my class. Thank you for giving me the crisp, new $2 bill. I will cherish this forever and I have written my child’s name on it and it will never be used for anything else, but something that she wants or she needs. The reason I am writing you is because the day that you talked to our class, I had made a decision that morning. I had cleaned out my desk, paid whatever bills I owed the school, and I was going to take mine and my unborn child’s life because I really didn’t think anyone cared. When you told the story, it brought tears to my eyes, about someone pulling for you, that life was not ready to be terminated. The fact is I will probably stick around awhile, because there are people like you that care about people like me, that don’t even know me. Thanks for caring.

Floyd L. Shilanski

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