Dimes for a Stranger

by Hope Pesner
Pennsylvania, USA

Dimes for a Stranger

My mother has always been one of those rare people that sees the good in everyone and does good things “just because”. Life hasn’t always been kind to her; she lost my oldest sister to leukemia in 1963 and my father in 2007 after nearly 51 years of marriage.

She’s had her ups and downs but has always maintained a positive, sunny outlook on life and been very helpful to people. As an example, when I was in Girl Scouts in junior and senior high school, my mom drove me home from the meetings. She always waited for all the other girls to get picked up before we left. She said, “I wouldn’t want my daughter to wait alone, so I don’t want any of the girls to wait alone.”

In the late 1970s, my other older sister wanted a pair of clogs, a hot fashion at the time. They were heavy slip-on shoes with tall soles.

One day at home after school, my sister was chasing after our dog while wearing the clogs. She fell and hurt her ankle and leg, prompting a visit to the hospital emergency room. My mother immediately shifted into crisis mode, packed my sister into the car, and drove to our local hospital.

Because she was in such a rush to get to the hospital with my sister, my mother didn’t call to tell my father that they were going to the emergency room (this was long before cell phones, instant messaging, texting, and the internet). When she got to the hospital, she realized she needed to get in touch with my father immediately.

He worked as a retail store manager, and she wanted to let him know where they were. While waiting for my sister to be examined, my mother made her way to the pay phone to place her call.

She put her dime in and called my father. She told him what had happened and where they were. After she hung up, the phone returned several additional dimes that Mom wasn’t owed.

Realizing that the phone was broken, my mother decided to leave the extra dimes by the phone. She told us she left the money there because it was an emergency room, and in a crisis, people might not remember to bring change with them to make that emergency call. She left the dimes there for someone else who might need them.

I’ve often thought about her decision from an adult’s perspective. I realize that someone seeing the money by the phone may have simply taken it because not everyone was as thoughtful as my mother. But I like to believe that my mother’s faith was well-placed and that someone who needed them found the dimes waiting there.

Originally published as HeroicStories #817 on Dec 9, 2010
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 1.

5 thoughts on “Dimes for a Stranger”

  1. Thank you for republishing my Mom’s story. She died in January of 2012, but I try to live up to the example she set to this day.

    Thanks again!

    Hope Pesner

  2. There was a poor widow once who gave all she had, and Jesus commended her for it. Your mother’s reward for this selfless act will be great! He sees all.

  3. Lovely story……..My mother was of that generation.
    The kinder, gentler generation. We need more of these kind of people today.
    God Bless her….
    I dont think I could be half the person my mother was, despite trying.
    She always said :”if you can do something nice for someone, WHY in the world would you not?”
    Never used a curse or swear word, always said “There are plenty of beautiful words in the English language. You do not have to use the bad ones.”
    a life well lived………I know these wonderful MOMS of the past generation are in heaven…….
    And they did it all without: automatic washers, dryers, cell phones, computers, automatic shift in their OWN car, Air conditioning. and most lived and raised large families on ONE salary…………….Hurray for all you MOMS.

  4. I remember this store when it was first published.

    Along the same lines, I normally leave my extra change when checking out at the grocery store and gas station, it always give the next person in line a few cents if they need it.


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