Find a Penny, Pick It Up!

Luck is for people who believe in serendipity and superstitions, or so I thought three months ago. There’s no way that a piece of “copper” can bring fortune! It wasn’t until I dodged an accident in my car without brakes that these thoughts started to change.

Every few days I pass by pennies laying on the ground, discarded as worthless by walkers in my neighborhood. Perhaps in shame, Abraham Lincoln’s profile often faces up looking indifferent to this neglect. Each time I see this brown glint in the sun, I awkwardly rerouted my path to grab the 1¢ piece.

In late May I left out of my room for work and found a penny on the walkway. In that afternoon I offered to drive a friend home after we finished our shift. My old car, which had no previous maintenance issues, decided to take one last heaving breath and die during rush hour.

My friend and I were just before the freeway entrance and on a bad road. I was slowing down at a red light when my Buick stalled. Immediately upon stopping, I shifted to park to restart the car. As if bemoaning its own fate, it grumbled and turned but it wasn’t having it.

While I was coming to a stop, my brakes froze and wouldn’t depress. There were cars in front and behind of me impatiently trying to get home despite my car’s inability to slow. Luckily, I was in the outermost lane, with enough time to come to a stop and pull into the grass.

With admirable effort from my friend, we managed to get a tow truck within an hour or two. The chaos of breaking down didn’t wear on us as we reacted to it. The weather was hot and humid but we managed to make the most out of the situation.

A few days later I thought about the penny I picked up that morning. Physically, that half-inch of metal didn’t prevent a crash. It sat in the pocket of my work uniform and joined in on the ride. What it represented was so much more than 1 cent.

Every time I found a penny after that, I paid special attention to my day. I realized that my life was filled with blessings I had never paid attention to. The mechanic called me later that week to tell me my baby Buick was done for. I found a penny that weekend and a funny thing happened.

While my car was sitting at the auto-shop, a drunk driver crashed into it and smashed a door in. Interestingly enough, he never directly impacted my car. The drunk driver hit another car (a whole parking space away) with enough force that it slammed into mine. This meant insurance would cover my car and I would have more money to buy something new. I’m also glad to report that the driver had no injuries!

At this point I became a little superstitious. These tiny coins invaded my pockets and suddenly everything started to look up. I discovered that these pennies represented a mindset. They gave me hope for a wonderful day and gratefulness for what I already had. Small positive acts suddenly became apparent and I loved it.

Some days can be rough, life is certainly full of surprises, but I’ve found that there’s certain triggers that remind me to stay optimistic. While everyone has their own way of being grateful, pennies have invaded my life and reminded me to be appreciative of what I have.

After discovering their meaning, I’ve started placing the pennies back out on the sidewalks. Maybe you’re going through a rough day and these pennies will give you hope that your day will change. They could remind you, like they have for me, to be grateful for what you already have. Or, at the very least, they put a few extra cents in your bank account! Whatever the case may be, don’t walk by that penny: when you find a penny, pick it up.


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