As I walked into Westlake Station this morning, I decided to buy a copy of Real Change (the local newspaper sold by homeless people) from that nice lady who sits in the entrance every morning. She handed me my paper, and I discovered that all I had on me was a one and a five. (Real Change costs $2.) I handed her the five dollar bill.
The Real Change vendor explained that she didn’t have any change. For the briefest of moments, I started to return the paper to her. Then it didn’t feel right. I told her to keep the five dollar bill, and suggested she buy herself some coffee. She protested, but I insisted, so she took it.
As I walked away, with the paper under my arm, it occurred to me: I probably had enough coins in my pocket to have paid the right price. It was too late. I seemed destined to give a three-dollar tip on a two-dollar newspaper.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be posting that. I don’t want to brag about an act of charity. I’m writing about it only because it seems tied, somehow, to something that happened later in the day.
I stopped off at an ATM on my way into work.
As lunchtime approached, I thought I might walk over to the food court for some Korean food. Just then, a coworker appeared at my desk and asked if I’d like a sandwich.
She explained that she’d bought a sandwich at Jimmy John’s, and discovered, after she’d returned to her desk, that it didn’t have the avocado she’d asked for. She called to complain, and was told to return for a replacement sandwich – plus a free bag of chips for the inconvenience. When she asked what to do with the original sandwich, she was told to keep it, or give it to someone else. So, my coworker was giving it to me.
My coworker left for Jimmy John’s. I bit into the original sandwich – and avocado squished out.
When my coworker returned, she told me that it was pointed out that the avocado is usually wrapped into the cheese, to hold it in place, so it’s hard to spot at first. I replied that I’d found the original avocado. (We both said, “Oops!”)
So, that was my day: I paid too much for a newspaper, and I got a free sandwich.