In mid-April, we posted a story about an experiment I conducted based on Pam Grout’s new book, E-Cubed. One of the interesting comments about it was from Stephanie, who had read Grout’s E-Squared, saw the experiment post, and decided to do her own thing with it.
I love the E-Squared book, fun experiments. Because of your post, I took seven $1 bills and had my 13 year old son help me craft the notes. I then drove around with my 15 year old daughter taping them to car windshields. What fun!
As I was taping a dollar to a windshield, my ex-husband called my daughter and she told him what I was doing. He laughed and asked, “Why in the world would she do that?”
My daughter “To spread happiness, I guess.” Indeed!
The best part is that he always hated when I donated or gave away money; he simply didn’t understand it. He said “If you’re going to give money away, give it to me!” I guess I’m still up to my old tricks.
A few days after I’d done my $1 bill experiment, I decided to try it with $5 bills. I only had one, so I taped my note to the bill, dropped the tape dispenser in my bag, and headed to the gym.
I recently changed gyms. Now that I’m on Medicare, Humana offers free gym membership through a program called Silver Sneakers. I can’t say I’m crazy about the name, which I equate with silver/gray hair, but since it’s free, I can’t complain. The only thing this gym lacks is a rowing machine and aerobic classes, but that’s why the membership is inexpensive – or, in my case, free. The clientele are working class folks, the ones who work 8-5 for minimum wage and should be voting the Democratic ticket.
In our previous gym, much more upscale, I was paying about $31 a month and it draws the upper middle class folks – and the uber rich and famous, like Bruce Springsteen. If I had left a $1 or $5 bill on the inside of the restroom door here, with a note about the generosity of the universe, it probably would have been dumped in the trash can. But when I taped a $5 bill on the inside of the restroom door at the new gym, I felt that it might mean something to whoever found it.
Two days later, Rob and I received more than $500 in unexpected royalty checks. The thing with this experiment is that you can’t be thinking, Gee, what am I going to get back in return? You tape your bills to wherever, without any expectation of compensation, and simply hope that it helps someone, somewhere. I keep putting myself in the shoes of someone who finds a note and a bill. I hope their reaction is: WTF??? Is this for real?
In fact when I posted the first story I wrote on Facebook, I’d forgotten that my neighbor – who is a Facebook friend – was one of my recipients.
You did this? she wrote. Thank you!!
I plan on continuing this experiment. We’re going to a writers’ conference this weekend in Tallahassee, a college town. Unless college life has changed drastically, it means these kids are living hand to mouth. I figure I’ll have my printed notes about the abundant universe and my tape dispenser and my bills. And in between our home and Tallahassee, there will be many hundreds of miles of turnpike – and rest stops. What better place for this kind of thing than a turnpike restroom, where women from all over the country converge?
Maybe Grout has hit on something big here. It’s like that very old TV show The Millionnaire, It ran from 1955-1960, and was actually about this kind of giving, but on a much larger scale:
According to IMDB: John Beresford Tipton is a multi millionaire and among the things he does with his money is to give away a million dollars to people he doesn’t know. So every week Tipton who is not seen, instructs his assistant, Michael Anthony to go bring the person he chose their check. And he asks them to sign an agreement not to tell anyone how they got the money. And we see how the recipients’ lives are changed.
It’s not as if a buck or five bucks is going to drastically change anyone’s life. But the thought behind it, that we live in an abundant universe that always has our backs, is powerful.