Coins in the age of debit cards

Do you carry coins with you?

Today, I would have been really glad to have some extra coins on me for the rough, but friendly looking beggar food insecure woman…

I used to carry coins, but not a lot. Mostly I use my debit card to pay for stuff, now that this payment method is installed practically everywhere, even the local fruit and veggie shop up the road from my house.

At the very least, I keep a dollar and a quarter coin on me, for the carts at the larger markets. But since covid, some places don’t bother with the coin carts anymore.

When I saw the beggar woman sit on the ground in front of the drug store this morning, which I had to pass in order to get to the veg store, I remembered thinking she was probably my age. But she looked so rough; her skin weathered from spending much of her time outside, possibly from smoking or other substance abuse, and her clothes worn and well-used. She was blond, hair tied in a ponytail, and she sported the brightest blue eyes I have see in a long time.

But what struck me the most was her smile. She smiled at me when I passed her, and didn’t stop smiling when I didn’t stop to give her some change.

I thought, crap, why don’t I have anything to give her?

I briefly contemplated if I should walk further and pick something up for her at the bakery, but then realized that shop wasn’t open yet. Covid affected so many business in this neighbourhood…

So, I did my shopping and on the way back to my car, nodded at her. She smiled and wished me a happy day.

I felt bad, but encouraged that she, who has it so much worse than most of us, displayed such a sunny disposition.

When I got into my car I dug around my bag and wallet. Lo and behold, I found $1.50 in coins. (If I had found some bills I would have been even happier…)

The street I parked on was a one way, so I had to drive back toward the drug store on the main road to turn west. I was right in front of the drug store again. Hoping she was still there, I pulled up and saw that she was sitting at the same post as earlier. She turned to look at me as I lowered my passenger side window, and I motioned for her to come up to the car.

“Hi,” she greeted me, like I was a long lost friend.

“I found some coins for you,” I told her and handed them to her across the seat. “I’m sorry it’s not more…”

She smiled again and said: “Oh thank you honey, I so appreciate it!”

I was kind of stunned. What a lovely lady.

She thanked me again a couple of times as I waited for the traffic to subdue so I could pull into the street, and then I drove off. She waved to me.

This thought-provoking occurrence ended up being the highlight of my morning, which was filled with poop and pee all over the main floor of the house, courtesy of this poopyhead:

Poopyhead – aka Tucker (11 weeks)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fill my baggie and wallet with a few coins and some bills. Because as the weather gets cooler, I suspect there will be more, not less, hungry people waiting outside of the shops for a little bit of kindness.

23 thoughts on “Coins in the age of debit cards

  1. I keep my coins in a separate little case so that on the rare occasions that I am paying cash, I can hand over the exact change and get only dollar bills in return. I love when the total comes to $XX.04 so that I can hand over four of those annoying pennies.

    Don’t even talk to me about pee and poop. I’m up to my eyeballs in it. All I have to say is thank god for plastic gloves, plastic bags, air fresheners, and antibacterial wipes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely lady! I used to worry about cheaters like others have said but then I realised I felt happier not trying to judge the reasons people are out on the streets begging. I feel like 9 times out of 10 they are genuine so I don’t worry about it any more. These days I hardly ever have coins on me though. All the shops here want you to pay by card. I do think I’ll need to make a point of having some cash for situations like this though. Thanks for sharing. This brightened my day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And now your beautiful moment of kindness has made MY day too! All the way over in Australia. ☺️I’m certain your kindness will now work it’s way into the world again, through the affect it’s had on me. And THAT is how the miraculous chain of human beauty works. Well done for following through on that burst of kindness, Claudette! Those are the moments that truly change us. So glad you both got to experience life at its best. 🙂💞

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is exceptionally generous and I’m glad this was such a positive encounter. We used to keep all the spare cash in our divider in our cars but with COVID 19 it’s tap only. And good luck with the pup! You’ll get to the point where this cute little thing won’t be pooping all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always keep change on me. In Chicago, unfortunately there are so many people living on the sidewalks. Once while walking my son to his acting class, we came across a woman and a few smaller children. I felt so bad. My son (much younger at the time) even started crying because he couldn’t give one of them his coat. We went into the gas station a few blocks over and got them a couple long subs, chips, and water. When we brought it to them, they were forever thankful. It breaks my heart, and makes you think about their circumstances.

    As Rivergirl mentioned above, though, there are tons of scam artists. Another time in the city, we we passed one young man asking for change. He happened to board the same train as we did, and when the conductor came around to collect money for tickets, he pulled a huge wad of cash out of his pockets to pay the man. It’s really terrible that people take such advantage. That was most definitely not the first time I encountered something like that. 😢

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How sad that there are whole families out there on the street going hungry…sigh. The Daily Bread Food Bank is a 15 min bike ride from my house. Sigh…

      As I said in the comment to Rivergirl I get it about the cheaters. There was an organization giving away filled backpacks for children who didn’t have the money to buy supplies, for back to school (here in a town near Toronto, a couple of weeks ago). Some people drove up in Cadillac and BMWs… the volunteers were stumped.

      I trusted my gut, and gave her the coins. It was only $1.50. It is what it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do keep coins in my purse, for tolls, car washing etc.
    it was nice of you to go back and help that woman, hard times can hit anyone.
    Sadly we’ve had trouble with crooked souls begging at street corners, holding signs that say homeless, disabled or veteran. Problem is a lot of them finish their day by climbing into brand new cars after whipping out their new iPhone. Territorial fights have broken out over the best corners in Portland. The police have been cracking down on them, but technically it’s not illegal. Makes it sad for those really down on their luck though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know exactly what you’re saying about the cheaters and advantage-takers. Because they happen around here, too.

      I don’t know if this woman just knew how to play us – maybe she’ll take the money to go buy drugs instead of buns and milk for her children. I don’t know.

      I went with my gut. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

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