Passing on Small Change

Passing on Small Change

From A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Passing on Small Change

I believe it is the nature of people to be heroes, given a chance.

James A. Autry

The pharmacist handed me my prescription, apologized for the wait, and explained that his register had already closed. He asked if I would mind using the register at the front of the store.

I told him not to worry and walked up front, where one person was in line ahead of me, a little girl no more than seven, with a bottle of Children’s Motrin on the counter. She clenched a little green and white striped coin purse closely to her chest.

The purse reminded me of the days when, as a child, I played dress-up in my grandma’s closet. I’d march around the house in oversized clothes, drenched in costume jewelry and hats and scarves, talking “grownup talk” to anyone who would listen. I remembered the thrill one day when I gave a pretend dollar to someone, and he handed back some real coins for me to put into my special purse. “Keep the change!” he told me with a wink.

Now the clerk rang up the little girl’s medicine, while she shakily pulled out a coupon, a dollar bill and some coins. I watched her blush as she tried to count her money, and I could see right away that she was about a dollar short. With a quick wink to the checker, I slipped a dollar bill onto the counter and signaled the clerk to ring up the sale. The child scooped her uncounted change into her coin purse, grabbed her package and scurried out the door.

As I headed to my car, I felt a tug on my shirt. There was the girl, looking up at me with her big brown eyes. She gave me a grin, wrapped her arms around my legs for a long moment then stretched out her little hand. It was full of coins. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“That’s okay,” I answered. I flashed her a smile and winked, “Keep the change!”

Nancy Mitchell

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