While at Disneyland last week, I found a $100 bill lying on the ground.
Now, $100 won’t get you much at Disneyland in 2019 but I knew good and well I wasn’t going to keep it. Mainly because a friend I was with had lost his debit card earlier in the day and I knew how much stress that was for him.
It reminded me of the time my daughter found a $20 bill on the ground.
Usually the only thing I find on the ground is the gum I happen to step in.
She was, needless to say, ecstatic. A free $20 bill to a then 6-year-old is ... well, about as good as a free $20 bill to anyone.
Her little mind immediately went into overdrive on how she could spend said funds. Her first plan was to put it in her piggy bank.
Then she had a revelation.
She’d been saving up her allowance for an expensive baby doll, and it occurred to her that her new found cold hard cash would put her over the top.
However, the suggestion was made that since she didn’t earn that money that maybe she shouldn’t take the easy way out to purchase the baby doll.
Furthermore, maybe the money could go to better use being donated or put in the plate at church.
She did not care for these recommendations. But her confusion quickly resolved as she felt the $20 in her hands and started staring at it again.
Because she can’t be a simple “yes sir” kind of kid, she finally stumbled upon the $20 question: “If I find a penny or a quarter, how come I can keep those but not this?”
I didn’t have an answer for that.
All questions from children should come with a siren and a five-minute head start, or 10 minutes if you’re in the middle of eating because, at least in my case, my mind is blank while eating and it’s even more difficult to form a response.
But, somehow through a mouth of takeout chicken, I mouthed my best response.
“Huh?” I said.
Yes, that’s the best I could come up with to buy time.
She asked the same question again and I’m pretty sure she delivered it in the exact same tone and inflection because she knew she had me stumped.
Trying to explain that spare change is inconsequential is a weird thing. It’s money. In fact, as unexpected as that question was and as good as the chicken was, I started to just say, “Forget it. Get the doll. You’re interrupting my chicken.”
Basically, “don’t ever talk to me when I’m eating.”
So I told her that cents don’t amount to dollars. Which was silly because of course they do. That’s the whole point of money.
This was a no-win scenario. My daughter is the Kobayashi Maru of children.
I tried again to explain that pennies and quarters aren’t as important to people as a $20 bill. She rejected this claim and I should have known so because she lives for putting loose change in her piggy bank.
So, I pulled the ultimate parent card. No, not “because I said so,” the other one: “We’ll discuss this later.”
Frustrated and disheartened, she placed the $20 on the kitchen counter. I eventually gave in and gave it to her.
But for Disneyland, I did the (I guess?) right thing, and delivered the $100 to lost and found.
They were bewildered and it will probably never find its original home.
And then it hit me. I just gave Disney another $100.
I should’ve kept it and just paid for the first few months of Disney+ streaming.