Blogs | Ethan Shorey

No winner, but how 'bout that peace and love

I have this bad habit of picking up scratched lottery tickets on the chance that the person who bought them missed the fact that they had a winner.

I've hit on probably five or six throwaways in the past decade, most in the $5-$10 range, so it was quite a pleasant surprise when I spotted the back of a ticket on the ground outside a local convenience store that read, "Peace and Love - $20." I flipped it over to confirm that it was a $20 winner and immediately got all warm and fuzzy inside.

I began thinking about how I could respond to this kindness. Maybe I'd write a column like the one I saw my journalist friend do on the kindness shown to her by a stranger. Then I'd pass the $20 on to someone else who needed it more.

I continued on my route to the next convenience store. I proudly handed the ticket to the cashier and told him that I'd found it on the ground. He wasn't impressed.

"It's probably that guy from (such and such convenience store) who cashes them and then writes on the back," he said, without even looking at the back.

My heart sank as he tore the ticket in half. Yep, it had already been redeemed for cash.

"No way, that can't be," I said, unable to fathom how someone could do such a thing.

It was true. I was standing there like a fool while this guy was probably off enjoying his newfound wealth at some fancy breakfast joint. I imagined he was laughing at my disappointment as he stuffed his face with scrambled eggs and crispy bacon.

As uninspiring as this mystery "donor" was, I decided that my best course of action was to do the opposite of what this guy expected me to do when I picked up his "winner." Instead of following my impulse to confront him outside the convenience store, I'm going to look for ways to give love and promote peace. Who knows, maybe I'll even drop a $20 bill somewhere.

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