Friday, November 23, 2018

Stories of the Finders

I've been doing my encouraging words with dollar bills for several years now. I've left them in just about any place you can imagine, from restroom stalls to airplane magazines to grocery shopping carts. Sometimes I place one somewhere once a day and other days I drop them off multiple times.

Most of the time I never get to see who picks up the encouraging note money pockets. That's the point, though - it's a project that's totally anonymous. But occasionally I might see someone's facial expressions or hear some comments. And sometimes I visit a place enough that someone figures out who is leaving them behind. Here are a few stories about them I've picked up along the way.
  • 5 O'Clock Charlie's was a place I had left them more than once. During one visit quite a while ago the bartender, figured out I was the one leaving them in the restroom because they only showed up there when I was there. So guess what she pulled out of her wallet to show me last time I saw her? One of those encouraging word money pockets she had found from long ago. All this time she's kept it in her wallet. It looks a little rough around the edges now, but how amazing is it that my dollar pocket with encouraging words meant so much to her that she keeps it with her all the time?
  • A crew member who found one a couple months back found another. The new one said You are amazing. Her name is Grace and she said she knew it was meant for her, like Amazing Grace. Yep, really amazing.
  • One of the girls that helped hubby in the morning found one in the sugar container when she was cleaning tables. Her cabin mate was also working at the time and we were all talking about the encouraging notes on them. I had a stack of others with me so I told the cabin mate to pick one out of my hand (she couldn't see the sayings so it was like a pick a card, any card kind of trick). When she turned it over it read Never Give Up. The two girls had a laugh and an oh my gosh and an I can't believe it. And why? Because in their cabin they have a poster. A poster that says Never Give Up. How awesome is that?
  • When I leave a tip in a restaurant I sometimes place it in a pocket. I look carefully through the sayings I have on me and choose one I think the waitress needs the most. Usually I can sneak out of the restaurant before the waitress sees it but on Thanksgiving night in Key West I didn't get out quick enough. The waitress stopped me and told me thank you. And said the saying really meant something to her. That it spoke to her. That it was the journey she was on. The encouraging words I chose for her? We’re all stories in the end. Make yours a good one. 
  • Many times when I leave them on a cruise ship I put them in the sugar container. Most of the time they never get touched until the crew member dumps all the sugar packets out and then reorganizes and refills them. That's how Sheila wound up with dollar after dollar after dollar. Only when another crew member spied me putting one into the container and told her did she realize it was me. Over the course of a couple years, as I've gone back to see Sheila again and again, she's picked up quite a few more. I do believe she's now found one pocket in every color. (It also helped that I gave her some outright. I now know her well enough that I was able to hand-pick messages of encouragement aimed right at her.) So what Sheila think about the notes? Here she is, in her own words:
I remember the first time I found the first one. I read it and the message was so touching and days after days I kept finding them with different messages, so from deep within the heart. I felt so emotional because I realized that someone on board cares for what we are doing and wants us to knows in some way. The money you put in the note was very helpful but the touching messages makes you feel good also.  Imagine after a hard day at work when you are about to finish your shift and you find one of the notes. It really makes your day. You are a blessing and special person that is trying to bless another person.