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I found 15 cents on my lawn this morning. Then, as I walked through my neighborhood, I noticed nickels and dimes sprinkled on the lawns of some of my neighbors, as well. I admit I didn’t actually see the coins themselves; what I saw, instead, were the beer bottles and beer cans donated by the generous souls of this community. I think it’s about time we thanked these people.

Believe me, with the price of gasoline increasing more and more each day, every nickel counts. So when I find money on my lawn, I appreciate it. What’s also nice about these random acts of kindness is that they allow me to maintain my dignity. If I were really picking up coins off the grass, I might feel like a charity case. Actually picking up the cans and the bottles to redeem them at the grocery store, however, allows me to feel like I’m really earning my money. That, too, is a blessing.

Initially, I thought only one individual was sharing his fortune with our neighborhood. As I looked closely at the variety of beers represented, though, I realized a whole six-pack of individuals might be involved. In fact, I also noticed a soda can on one lawn, so the designated driver for this charitable organization must be contributing too.

Now some people might think that these do-gooders are inconsiderate because they spread their wealth haphazardly rather than focus on the families that are most needy. That judgment is entirely wrong. Why I saw an entire 12-pack of beer cans dumped in front of one residence whose owners obviously needed the cash. In addition, the Good Samaritans who left the 12-pack were so considerate that they also left the cardboard container nearby, so the lucky person who found the cans could more easily transport them to the grocery store. That’s amazing. The young men of this community should be commended.

Yes, I realize that some readers might interpret the previous sentence as sexist or biased, but I must write the truth. I don’t think females have that same kind of philanthropic nature, and any male over the age of 30 is probably too busy taking care of a family or a home to spend time spreading anonymous gifts throughout the community.

Before I conclude this note of thanksgiving, however, I must ask myself one question: Besides saying “thank you,” is there anything else I can do to acknowledge these giants of generosity, these pillars of philanthropy, these kingpins of kindness? The answer, unfortunately, is no. After all, their humility prevents them from making their donations in the daylight. While the rest of us are sitting comfortably on our couches watching contrived reality shows on television, these denizens of the darkness, these Robin Hoods of the neighborhoods, are out on the streets creating a reality of their own. Even if I were to catch them in the act of distributing their gifts, I don’t think they would allow me to thank them in person. Most likely, they would speed away rather than graciously accept my appreciative words.

Thus, since these humanitarians want to remain anonymous, I must thank them publicly by means of this essay. My only concern is by acknowledging the generosity of these gentlemen, they might feel obligated to reward me for my thankfulness with even more gifts. I hope that doesn’t happen because, quite frankly, I don’t think that would be fair to the rest of my neighbors.

Written by

Jim LaBate works as a writing specialist in The Writing Center at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy, New York.

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