Just a little loose change

Published 8:15 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

By Rex Alphin

He pulled up to the Waldorf in his black Lexus and stepped out amidst the cameras. His chauffeur moved around and opened the back door, and he stepped out amid the click of cameras.

His sterling cuff links glittered below his black suit as he sauntered toward the front doors. Inside, he was met and ushered up front to the waiting audience amongst a sea of stares as the rising applause echoed through the cathedral shaped ballroom. On the rostrum, he sat just to the left of the lectern as the university president stood to address the crowd.

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“We are honored to have such a benefactor in our midst. Never in the history of this prestigious university has a gift of this magnitude been received. On behalf of the university and all it represents, I proudly accept this check for $10 million and assure you it will be used for the benefit of mankind.”

At this, a large 3-by-5-foot check was brought forward, and the men posed at each end for the media, the applause once again becoming deafening. “Thank you, thank you,” the benefactor lip synced, basking in the limelight.

She pulled up in front of “Do Drop In” in her ’95 Chevrolet and glided to a stop by the pumps. The rejection sticker on her windshield betrayed two slick tires and a faulty turn signal. All the windows were down to provide some relief in the 95-degree heat, and sweat poured from the 6-year-old and 8-year-old in the rear seat.

Doors squeaking, they all exited the stifling vehicle to find temporary relief in the coolness of the small store. The children perused the candy aisle and savored its offerings, the aroma all the more compelling.

The mother pillaged her purse in hopes of finding some undiscovered money, but to no avail. Opening a large glass door, cool air tumbled out as she grabbed a gallon of milk. She picked up a loaf of bread on the way to the checkout. “Come along, kids,” she said.

At the counter, she surveyed the young cashier and surmised her situation. A small “Tips” jar sat on the counter. After a slight hesitation, the mother placed the loaf of bread back on the shelf and grasped a smaller one. The difference, $1.25, she slipped into the jar, leaving just enough to pay for her groceries and $5 of gas.

Loading up, she and her two young ones rolled back out on the highway, black smoke the only evidence of their visit.

Now, tell me reader: Who gave the most?