When I was ten years old my folks drove from Detroit to Miami Beach to escape the snow and meet their friends Lew and Betty Wexler for a week in the sun. We stayed at the brand new Thunderbird Hotel which to our good fortune also was host to the Branjolina couple of the day, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. My sister Alice who was nuts about Eddie Fisher, wound up speechless when the four of us shared the elevator.
That's where my lifelong quest for found money began. One night as we walked across Biscayne Blvd, Lew Wexler, former mob guy turned legit and my idol, spotted a penny on the cement. He said to me, "Donny, go ahead and pick it up." My snotty answer was, "It's only a penny." Lew reached down and picked it up himself. "It's found money. You always pick up found money." My mortification was complete. No coin has gone unnoticed since that night.
One of my first teenage summer jobs was a maintanence position at the Jeffries Projects in Detroit. We picked up trash, and cut the lawn. My boss, Mr. Greenjeans said to look out for money on the lawn. I told him he had to be kidding, these were poor people we'd never find money there, then looked down and saw a dime! Greenjeans informed me that kids played on the grass and lose money. He found some every day. Sure enough- more found money.
Fast forward to the eighties when I become a runner. It's one of the best things I've ever done, not simply because I've stayed mentally and physically fit. My money finding career took off as fast and far as running would take me. Many runners wear headsets for music to help pass the time. I look for money on the ground. Looking for money is a great way to forget about the miles and enjoy the moment.
One year a gal friend of mine Hedy Peterson and I decided we'd train for a marathon. We lived two miles apart in Palo Alto so one of us would run the two miles pick up the other one and run back home. The second runner then turned and ran home alone. Those two mile runs together featured lots of found money on the street. After a few months Hedy was injured and we never ran marathons together. It was another eleven years before I ran my first marathon but all those long runs featured lots more found money.
After a while I formed some postulates about found money.
1. If you find a coin outbound, there will be multiple coins on the run.
2. Nickels are hard to find. When people drop them they sound like quarters so they are more likely to pick them up.
3. A four mile run will most likely result in found money.
4. Always run the morning after it rains. People don't want to pick up wet money- even bills.
5. Don't bother looking in Handicapped parkiing. Handicapped people know to take care with their money.
6. Self service car washes on your route are a bonanza. People clean out their cars and often don't care about the change they leave.
7. Don't worry about dirty coins. You are sweaty already if you're running. Wash the coins when you take a shower after your run.
About eight years ago, I started keeping a running diary to measure my mileage each year. The diary doubles as a record of where and how much money I find on that run. At the end of the year I total up my winnings with my miles run. One of my goals I call the Bye Bye Baby Bonanza. That is a penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar bill on one run. It hasn't yet happened . I've found the coin part several times and found folding money from time to time but I still seek the elusive bonanza.
These days I run with Dolby, my sweet Black Lab. One Sunday morning after a rain as we ran through the Round Table parking lot, I noticed a bill laying in a puddle. I stopped to find it was a hundred dollar bill! Finding the hundred completed me. I picked it up wiped it off and put it in my pocket. After running a few feet, paranoia set in soI switched it to a zippered pocket to insure safety. What a thrill.
I'm off to kind of a slow start this year, still under ten dollars. I did find a shiny penny in the Chevron station parking lot this morning. What a great way to start the day. Maybe tomorrw will bring me the Bye Bye Baby Bonanza. Keep tuned.
Causes Don Surath Supports
Alzheimers Association, Jewish Home of San Francisco, Foundation for Osteoporosis Research and Education, American Bone Health, American Diabetes...