Finding a Fortune


D. Rex Gerratt

One day, when I was 13 or 14 years old, I went to the grocery store that was a couple of blocks from my school. The store had spectacular ice cream, and my classmates and I went there often during our lunch hour to get double-decker ice-cream cones.

One day when we had our ice-cream cones, I looked down at my feet and saw a $10 bill lying on the floor. A U.S. $10 bill more than 50 years ago was really something to a young man. Satan tried to tempt me with “Think what you could do with this $10 bill.”

Because of the teachings of my parents, I didn’t listen. I took the money over to the cashier and told her I found it on the floor. She said, “Well, you are an honest young man. Let me write your name on this note, and if someone doesn’t claim this $10 bill, I will see that you get it back.”

I left it with her. That afternoon a young man came in to see if she had seen a $10 bill. She said, “Yes, and here is the fellow’s name who found the money.”

This boy looked me up to thank me, and we became close friends.

But that is just the start of the story. Because of our friendship and his good feeling toward me, he introduced me to his family. As the children in the family grew up and married, I became a good friend with their families as well. And over a lifetime, I have been a close friend to 10 or 12 families just because of that $10 bill. I have been in their homes. As a bishop, I have interviewed some of their children. I have been invited to temple weddings and other family occasions during the past 50 years. I have enjoyed great friendships, not only with those kids but also with their parents over that time. They are a wonderful family.

I am grateful that I wasn’t really tempted to keep that $10 bill, because my wonderful father and mother taught me the principle of honesty. I am grateful for the blessings that have come to me throughout my life from being honest—honesty has opened many doors. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to look people in the eye and say, “I have always tried to be honest.”

I have talked to my own nine children about being honest. I told them that when you see a $10 bill, you really don’t know how much it is worth. It has a face value, but my friendship with that family is worth more than a fortune. They are such a blessing in my life.

Illustration by Richard Hull