Thursday, September 23, 2010

How Can You Tell If It's Real?!

So. Today. Where do I begin?..... After careful planning to go to Institute class this morning, I didn't sleep much last night which made me oversleep when I finally did drift off. I got Will up (which requires jumping through all kinds of hoops -- thyroid meds, bathroom, shaving, brushing teeth, helping dress, getting food ready for him to take 2 hours to eat -- stuff like that), then finally made it to the shower. I felt drugged from lack of sleep, but I wanted to go, so I gave it my best effort. Not realizing it, I was already late before I had even gotten into the shower. There's so much to do in the mornings! I settled down and accepted the fact that I wasn't going anywhere at that moment.

I dressed, made sure Will was doing alright, left him with Ron and Scott, and took off to run a couple of errands.

Let me back up a little here.... yesterday, in the mail, was an insurance refund check made out to me in the amount of $22.00. Not huge, but a nice surprise, nonetheless. I had cancelled collision insurance on Ron's Suburban since it's been sitting in the driveway in the same spot for months now with a busted transmission. It's not going anywhere so collision insurance seemed a little pointless for now. I don't know why it took me so long to figure that out..... Anyway, I wasn't expecting money back. I did a little dance in the kitchen and knew exactly what I was going to do with it before it was all the way out of the envelope it came in.

Ok. I dressed, made sure Will was doing alright, etc. (see above:) The first place I went to was my bank. I placed my check and driver's license in the tube, shot it up and over to the teller and sat patiently in my car until my cash arrived in its place. Next stop, the power company (that's another story for another day. Of course, my $22 was not going to cover what I had to do there).
Last stop before home, Wal-mart. I had five items on my list, but of course, it's Wal-mart, so I ended up with nine things instead. I had cash in my purse, which I gave to the cashier, with a smile on my face because really it didn't cost me more than $7 of my "own" money. $28. 72 -- total bill. No problem. I had $10 already in my purse before I cashed the $22 check. It's all good..... until..... the cashier looked at my $20 bill (that I'd just gotten from my bank) and told me, "It doesn't look real. See. When I marked the other bills (she had a marker of some sort behind the register that I never saw), the line turns yellow. When I marked this bill, it's dark brown. I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere."

I waited and I waited. She finally came back and had me write a check for my stuff, gave me a receipt and led me to the customer service desk. My $20 bill was counterfeit! She and her manager explained that typically they would have the police come to the store, but instead I was given my phony $20 bill back and told that the best thing to do would be leave, call the police and have them meet me at my bank to try to recover some "real" money.

In the meantime, I called the bank manager who quickly and matter-of-factly (is that a word??)explained to me that once I left the bank with the money, it was mine and there was nothing they could do for me! I sort of vented on her about how it was their fault in the first place that I was in the predicament I was in and that I wanted my money! I would have been happy to hand them back the $22 they had given to me and taken my check back, to another bank, to get real money for it since they didn't know how to protect their customers from fraud. That didn't go over well with her, so before I hung up, she knew that I would be meeting the police at her branch to straighten all this out. I didn't wait for a response. I just hung up. My next call was to the police department.

I met the nicest police officer in the parking lot of the bank. He had me and Will wait at my car while he went inside and had someone in the bank verify that the bill was indeed fake. He wrote up a complaint, assigned a case number to me, and clipped the 20 to his report. He then gave me a piece of paper with all the information I needed to obtain a copy of the complaint in a few days. What happened next melted my heart, and his. He pulled his wallet out of his pocket, handed me a $10 bill and said, "The Lord has impressed it upon my heart to give this to you." I told him that I couldn't take his hard-earned money from him, but thanked him so much anyway. He kept it in front of me and repeated that the Lord had impressed it upon his heart to give it to me and that I needed to take it. He told me that he works about 80 hours a week, that he still had money in his wallet and that tomorrow was payday for him. He would be alright. "Take it." So, I did, and cried right there and then, gave him a hug, and cried all the way home at his goodness and concern for me and my family. What an exceptional thing for him to do. It was way above and beyond the call of his duty.

There are so many good people in the world. We just need to recognize them when they cross our path and spread that goodness around when we see a need.

Officer S informed me that someone from a special unit of the Secret Service would contact me by phone shortly and they would eventually reimburse me the $20 I lost today (actually only $10 after his kind donation). I'll let you know how that goes, and, if the SS lets me take a picture of them I'll post it on here with the rest of the story later, with their permission, of course. A couple of my friends were at my home this afternoon listening to me rehash this experience. We had a good laugh conjuring up images of the SS guys in their dark suits, dark shoes, dark ties and dark glasses. We'll see if we got it right. It was great to laugh after all the stress....

When I get my reimbursement, I'm going to look up Officer S and offer his $10 back, along with another hug and a big plate of homemade cinnamon rolls.

I had no idea I had received, and tried to pass off, bogus money today. It wasn't real, but how could I have possibly known? To look at it, it appeared to be like any other bill. It was only after careful examination that the truth was revealed.

Isn't that how a lot of things in life are?

Trying to keep it REAL --
Love and hugs!

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