My aunt sent me a crisp one dollar bill for my birthday. It was in a card with an unusual message:
Dear Matt, Please share this dollar with as many people other than your family as you can. Try to do it without them knowing it. I know that you’ll have a happy birthday if you do. Please let me know what happens.
Love, Aunt Maureen
I was very puzzled. How could I share one dollar with many people? When I asked Mom about it, she said it might help if I traded the dollar bill for change. Then I’d have more pieces of money to share. So I gave her the crisp dollar bill and she gave me ten pennies, two quarters, two dimes, and four nickels.
First, I took two of the nickels and put them into a tithing envelope. I knew that my tithing could help a lot of people and that they wouldn’t know who it came from. So I felt good about that. Now I had ninety cents left.
Aunt Maureen wanted me to let her know what happened, so I asked Mom for a card and wrote:
How I spent my birthday dollar
10¢ for tithing
I looked at the rest of the money and thought hard, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with it.
Mom needed to run some errands, so I put the money in my pocket and went with her. I hoped some ideas would come to me while we were out.
We had just gotten on the bus, when the man in front of us tried to give the bus driver a dollar bill. The driver told him, “It’s fifty cents in exact change only, sir.”
I guess the man didn’t have it, because he looked sad and turned to get off the bus. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my two quarters, and gave them to him. “Here’s the money,” I said.
The man looked surprised but then smiled at me and said thank you twice!
I felt great! After Mom and I sat down, I pulled the card out of my pocket and wrote:
50¢ to a nice man for bus fare
Now I had ten pennies, two dimes, and two nickels left. I wondered what I would do with them.
When Mom and I got off the bus, we walked to the market. On the way, one of the parking meters changed from white to red. A woman was frantically searching her purse for change to put into the meter. I heard her mutter, “Why can’t I find that dime—I know I had one!”
I knew just what to do! I gave her one of my dimes. When she protested, Mom explained why she had to take it. She did, and even though I hadn’t done it without her knowing, I still felt good inside.
While mother was shopping, I wrote on my card:
10¢ for a lady at a parking meter
Now I had ten pennies, one dime, and two nickels left.
Since it was my birthday, we stopped at the ice-cream shop on the way home. I ordered a double-scoop of mint chocolate chip. While we were waiting for our cones, I heard a little girl crying. I turned and saw a lady cleaning up spilled ice cream on the floor. “I’m sorry you dropped it, honey,” she was saying to the little girl. “You can have the rest of my cone.”
“How much is a child’s cone?” I asked the man serving ice cream.
“Twenty-five cents,” he said. So I gave him my two nickels, my dime, and five pennies. I asked him to get the little girl another cone and to promise not to tell her who bought it. The little girl was so excited to have another cone, she did a dance. I grinned so hard I thought my face would break.
When we got back on the bus, I wrote on my card:
25¢ for ice-cream cone
Mom leaned over and patted me on the knee. “I’m proud of you! I know that Aunt Maureen will be too. And Heavenly Father is always pleased when you’re kind to others. Has this been a happy day for you?”
“Yes—I didn’t know I could help so many people with just one dollar!” I pulled out the rest of my money. “But what can I do with my last five pennies?”
Mom tapped me on the arm and pointed out the window of the bus. We were coming to our stop, and there on the corner was a lemonade stand. A little girl and boy were sitting behind a sign that said: 5¢ A GLASS.
“Do you think the bus driver likes lemonade?” I asked my mother.
“I’m sure he does.”
She was right. And so was Aunt Maureen. My dollar was gone, but giving it away made it one of my happiest birthdays ever.