Spare Change Makes Change | Teen Ink

Spare Change Makes Change

January 18, 2011
By Kathlyn BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
Kathlyn BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Keep The Faith!

A greasy whiff, sticky air, and the warm atmosphere collided against my cheeks as I shuffled inside. It was lovely to go somewhere other than home to have lunch. As I walked towards the cashier to order, I peered out as my eyes conflicted to where I should look at. Cars were sputtering gas, clouds were tightly packed to dull the sky, and Phoenix citizens were huddled together as they shuffled to go shopping.
As I skimmed the menu at McDonalds, I ordered food in massive heaps. Sure, I’m small. That doesn’t mean I can’t eat a whole cow. I pulled out my crumpled dollar and slipped change into the donation box next to the cash register. It’s gotten a bit smaller lately...Well, while I was waiting for my meal to be finished piling against the tray, I contemplated what I could do later on in the day. Should I go buy early Christmas presents? Should I visit a friend? Should I even go anywhere at all?
The tray was suddenly shoved against my arm. The cashier had smiled apologetically as I acknowledged it. Clip, clop. Clip, clop. The sounds of my boots seemed to echo as I approached an empty seat. Business was quite slow today; a bit strange for a Saturday afternoon. Ironically, children raced through the mellow door with resonating laughter after I had finished my thought.

Burgers, fries, and a drink. I swallowed it all down within minutes. I debated on whether to get ice cream or apple pie. My shoulders gave a jolt as an orchestra of beeps roared to life. I pulled out my phone to answer. I stepped outside to say hello. My friend had called to invite me to her house. All right! That means I have a destination now. I turned back inside with the final decision of two pies and a cone. Before I could pull open the door, a man in about his mid 30’s croaked the word hello to me. “Do you have spare change young lady?” I stopped in my tracks. Wait—should I help him? I’ve always been told that the money they receive isn’t used to purchase necessities. Quickly, I sputtered out, “No. I’m sorry.” I walked away hesitantly and sauntered inside. Halfway back, I turned around. I know what I have to do. I walked with steps of triumph. I greeted him and he nodded slowly. I approached him and spoke, “You know what, I didn’t have change but I could spare some bills. Let me do something better, let me buy you whatever you’d like to eat.” A small grin and thankful eyes displayed his appreciation. I finished ordering for him and myself. As I got inside the car, I felt an extreme sense of happiness. You know, the kind where you want to jump up and squeal like you won something. I felt proud. I couldn’t help but replay that moment over and over. I know it’s a bit cheesy, but I felt on top of the world. As if one thing can make me feel so great and confident in myself. To be honest, I never cared about other people and what they thought. I just flowed to the rhythm of my own steps. After this experience I know now how small a difference that can be made will be. Pondering about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the people who need help will always accept it. Although, when I think about it, these things take time. Someday, they’ll accept help and become a better person. I made my way to my friend’s shabby home and we made hot chocolate to drink. I admitted that I was a selfish person and I knew it, but doing what I did today, it felt like I changed a bit.

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