Look Down, You Never Know What You Might Find

Look Down, You Never Know What You Might Find

“Pay attention!””Look where you’re going!”
“Watch what you’re doing!

All good words to live by, right?  I’m sure you’ve heard or used the expressions above, maybe regularly.  They’re common sense.  But, I’ve had two recent examples of where paying attention to my surroundings has yielded some great results.

The Hanging Basket

Every summer, we typically buy a hanging basket as part of our annual flower routine.  We plant flowers in a few places around the house, as well as in some potted plants around the deck, and the hanging basket goes near the front porch.

On a recent camping trip, we decided to take the hanging basket with us.  I’ve seen other campers do this, and thought, why not give it a try?  It wasn’t a horrible experience but we could never find a really good spot for it, yet it did pretty well.  Except for after I got home and picked it up out of the camper to go return it to the front porch.  When the part that hangs from the hook snapped right off.

Up until then, everything had seemed normal, but this plastic piece came off and rendered it useless.  I carried the now hangless basket to the front porch and set it down. I told my wife about it and we debated on whether to go to the nearby nursery and see if they had one.  I figured it was probably a generic thing and probably not very expensive.  The biggest obstacle was for one of us to go out and do something about it, with there being a high probability that the basket would never hang again.

But for a quick glance.

I was cutting the grass a couple of days later, and as I was in the front yard, something laying along the side of the road caught my eye.  I don’t know what made me look, but some part of my brain registered to look again.  So I did.  I actually turned my mower off and went and looked.  In front of the neighbor’s house on the other side of the street one door down, in the spot where they normally place their trash for curbside pickup, was a plastic hanger for a hanging basket.  I was flabbergasted.  I picked it up, looked at it to see if it was damaged or had been run over.  It was fine.  I walked back across the street, and by unclipping the old one and re-connecting this one, our basket was once again hanging.

What are the chances?

The Bike Ride

Well, a few weeks later I found out what the chances were.

My wife and I picked a Saturday to take a long bike ride.  Our area has a pretty good trail system, and we enjoy taking long rides around the trails every so often.  This was our first time going on this long a ride this year, so we were pretty excited.  We decided to stop for lunch as well as at a park along the way, to make an adventure out of it for the kids.

As we were about three miles into the trip, we were on a part that was gravel and cut through a wooded area.  I’m pretty sure that this used to have a rail line running through, and once that was no longer needed, it was converted to a trail.

As I ride, I always look around.  I look in front of me, behind me, and even down at the ground.  It was during one of those glances that I saw something that made my brain tell my body to hit the brakes.  I did so and called ahead to my wife to stop.  She wasn’t sure if something was wrong, but before I could even answer, I had already gotten off my bike and put the kickstand back and started walking back.

It was a few steps behind the trailer that I confirmed what I thought I might have seen.  Money!

mb-twenty-201308It was folded up so I had no idea what it was.  I picked it up, unfolded it, and showed my wife that we were now TWENTY DOLLARS richer!

How awesome is that?

I scoped the area out to see if I could spot anything else, but there was nothing.

(Readers, I will disclose that I’m going to ignore any of you who claim to have lost money on that trail *grin*)

Had I found something else with it that would have provided an identity of who the money might have belonged to, I would have tried to track down the owner, but with just money, it became evident that we were now twenty dollars richer.  The money was covered in gravel dust so it wasn’t like it was just dropped, and there wasn’t even anybody behind or in front of us.

We’ll probably put the money toward our travel fund or something.

Again, just by paying attention to my surroundings, I spotted something that could have gone unnoticed.

Readers, have you ever spotted something that you might have otherwise missed had you not been paying attention or had your mind not somehow hollered ‘Stop’?  I’d love to hear your stories.

27 thoughts on “Look Down, You Never Know What You Might Find”

  1. Those are some pretty good finds. I once found two $50 dollar bills laying on the ground and I’ve found $20 bills a couple of times. I feel bad for the people that lost them but there want anyway to determine who lost the money.

  2. I’ve found money on several occasions, but my wife is more of a dumpster diver. Not literally, but we’re always stopping and looking at free crap on the side of the road. Some DIY elbow grease, and voila! New furniture…lol

  3. Found money is the best money!

    My Wife stumbled upon a $20 in a long-abandoned purse over the weekend.

    So she bought petit fours (fancy word for iced miniature cakes) with half of it, and pocketed the change.

    Probably to be used for more petit fours next week.

  4. Over the years, I have found money in my classroom. If I find it after the class is dismissed, I take the money and donate it. It would be a waste of time to ask if anybody lost a $1.

  5. Probably the funniest instance of finding money was when I was a young teenager. I was out near the end of the Santa Cruz Wharf looking at some sea lions down below. I started kicking at some trash at the bottom of the chain-link fence. The trash went under the fence and floated on the air currents down toward the water. That’s when I saw a twenty dollar bill unfurl. Twenty dollars was a lot to a broke teenager back then, and I got ready to jump into the ocean after it, but a friend’s parents, whom I was with, stopped me.

  6. My friend and I found a ton of money while we were just walking down the street once: about $120. Luckily, I pushed him into a bush to grab the lions share of it. We ended up splitting it 50-50, but it was fun pushing him in a bush.

  7. I once found 400 bucks in one of those small bank envelopes at my university, and just the other day I found four $2 dollar bills to add to my money collection in a parking lot. I looked around and nobody was in sight. Free Money.

  8. I almost always look down when I walk (must be those LA bumpy sidewalks!) but most of the time it pays off – I don’t trip over uneven concrete, I find a penny or two, and if I do lose items (I dropped my bike lock keys once) I can quickly find them by backtracking. Congrats on the find!

  9. Oh wow. Looks like your brain has invisible eyes. Ha. Usually, when there’s a way I could track the owner, I do it and return the stuff. Otherwise, I keep it.

  10. Sounds like intuition to me…I wrote about it for Midlife Finance. (see the link)

    But you’re a GUY. What are you doing, listening to your inner self? I thought that was women only! (grin)

  11. “Pretty good trail system”? I’m the president of the local non-profit that builds trails here and I’d kill for your trail system. It’s incredible. I love the new signs, BTW.

    I once found $10 in our yard, near the road. It was pretty amazing. I found a GPS once and thought it was awesome, until I realized they threw it out their window (apparently) because it froze every five minutes…..

  12. What a HOOT! I can’t believe you found another hanger like that…and then the serendipitous $20…what karma!

    On the $400 find by EL: a friend once lost some money in a bank envelope — it had the bank’s name on it but nothing to identify the money’s owner. On a long shot he went into the bank and asked if anyone had brought it in, and incredibly, the person who found it actually DID return it to the bank and reported having found it! Is that amazing or what?

    This happened a very long time ago. Banks don’t maintain that level of service anymore, so I expect these days it wouldn’t be worth trying to return it that way.

  13. Nice! I tend to find things on my early morning runs. The most valuable so far being an iPhone (which we ended up finding the owner of and returning it), and, like you, a $20 bill. =) Nobody was around, so I felt like I got paid for picking up litter that day!

    • A couple of years back I found a phone laying in the middle of the street while walking through the neighborhood. I picked it up and called the most recently dialed number. The guy that answered was very confused as to why his wife was calling him while she was sitting across from him at the dinner table. They hadn’t realized the phone was missing yet. I was happy to return it to them!

  14. When I was much younger I remember finding a $20 bill on two separate occasions during one crazy summer off of school. I might have been only 8 years old but that $40 bought enough gum, candy and ice cream to keep a hungry kid happy for months. I was never that lucky again but it certainly did pay for me to look up, down and all around.

    • Now that you mention it, I remember finding some cash as a kid and being excited about being able to go to 7-11 and get a candy bar now and then. It was a hot hot summer, so I’m thinking 1988, when I was 13 🙂

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