I’ll admit, half of me did this as an act of kindness; the other half as a social experiment.
As mentioned before, I work in the concrete jungle a.k.a. financial district of downtown Toronto. Because Union Station is located right in the heart of it, it is an eclectic mix of obnoxious suits, swarming tourists, frustrated construction workers and the occasional local trying to pass through unscathed.
Being on Day 2 of my sugar/alcohol detox, caffeine has quickly become the most integral part of my sanity. I dropped by Starbucks to grab my favourite cold brew, when I realized I had a rogue $20 in my wallet I hadn’t noticed before. Much to the chagrin of the barista, I spent the next three minutes scraping together change from the bottom of my purse, realizing I sadly didn’t have enough and consequently charging my $3 coffee to my MasterCard (priceless…!).
As I walked over to a nearby bench – the coffee slowly seeping into my bloodstream – I looked around to see if anyone was watching and casually dropped the $20 behind me. I sat down on my bench to observe:
Passerby #1: Older woman with cane and alarming penchant for mismatched patterns. Walks by at snail’s pace; notices bill; leans down; but does not take the bait. Disappointing.
Passerby #2: Mother and child duo; presumably tourists (key tell-tale sign: gift-shop t-shirts and looks of perpetual confusion). Child points to bill as they walk by, mother too engrossed in map to acknowledge. Child gives up (this does not bode well for said child in life).
Passerby #3: BINGO! Quintessential financial district “suit”: receding hairline, BlackBerry in hand, walks briskly with inflated sense of purpose. He looks down, spies the bill, looks around to see if anyone is watching (I nonchalantly look away), and then in one fell swoop, whisks up the bill, stuffs it in the pocket of his poorly-tailored suit and continues charging down the street.
The 10 minutes of entertainment was well worth the cost.
P.S. In all seriousness, there is something extremely cathartic about giving money away.
Total Kindness Act: $20