2018-03-08 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

A dollar goes a long way


Andrew Dietderich—Staff Writer Andrew Dietderich—Staff Writer I’ll loan you the dollar.” I rarely carry cash these days. When I have to pay for copies of public records (or what I call “bonus taxes”) at the Lapeer County Register of Deeds or Lapeer County Circuit Court, I write a check.

Nearly the rest of the time, I pay for stuff with the debit card linked to my checking account.

Need to send someone some money? Paypal or Venmo it.

Really, though, who still uses cash in 2018?

“I’ll loan you the dollar.”

On Monday, I had occasion to cover a court hearing at Genesee County Circuit Court.

Relatively speaking, it was right down the road. In reality, however, it felt like a foreign country. By that I mean everyone but I seemed to know their way around.

While trying to dodge potholes, homeless people and attorneys while listening to/mostly watching Google maps, I somehow ended up in front of the courthouse, and a parking lot with a sign: “$2 first hour, $1 each additional hour.” No problem.

“I’ll loan you the dollar.”

Now, about being a journalist: in case you haven’t heard, it’s one of those “thankless” jobs.

In all honesty, I went off on a whole tangent here about the subject, but then realized how tired and boring that topic has become.

Besides, the point was simple: It’s rare for someone to genuinely do something nice for me — while on the job — “just because.”

And that’s why I was taken aback when it happened Monday.

Frankly, I was a bit drained from sitting in a courtroom all afternoon waiting for about 30 minutes of action at the end of the day. My blood sugar was low. I hadn’t had caffeine in hours — or was it weeks, maybe months, or ever?

I got in my car, drove toward the exit, prepared my plastic to pay, and when the attendant opened the drawer for me to put my card, I noticed the sign that read “CASH ONLY.”

My adrenaline kicked in as I began a frantic search for cash I knew I didn’t have. Pants pockets, coat pockets, sweater inside coat pockets — all empty. I opened my armrest and saw that old green color of money. With cars piling up behind me, I counted the “wad” that really only turned out to be five bucks.

I needed six.

Somehow, I must have thought I missed that one elusive dollar in my pockets because I once again went through them all. I once again opened the armrest — maybe another dollar would magically appear? And that’s when I heard a voice come from the tiny speaker.

“I’ll loan you the dollar,” the attendant said.

I looked and she was already reaching for her own purse, not even batting an eye or thinking twice about it.

I thanked her profusely. Twice.

“No problem at all. Just leave an extra dollar next time you’re here.”

She didn’t ask for any info. Didn’t ask my name. Wasn’t rude, mean or condescending. Simply loaned a dude a buck “just because” and with the full faith and confidence it will one day be repaid. And it made my day.

She won’t see this, so I won’t thank her here.

But I pay it forward by sharing this simple story about how one person armed with one dollar might not seem like a lot, but can make someone’s day.

Also, as a reminder that you should always carry cash.

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