Day 12 of giving away $100 a day. I was on my way to get a haircut this afternoon, heading south on Grand Ave. Traffic was flowing pretty smoothly.  I noticed a car in front of me over in the next lane with “Just Married” written on the rear window. It still looked fresh. I’d been to the bank earlier to pick up some more C-notes and had been thinking about my giveaway all day. It crossed my mind that it would be nice to give the $100 to the newlyweds.

The car – a silver hatchback – pulled ahead, signaled and changed lanes. Looking at the clock, I realized I had a few extra minutes and decided I would follow the car for a few blocks and see what happened. I drove right by my turn and came up behind them. Maybe I could pull up and signal to them to pull over. I rolled my window down in anticipation but they stayed just out of range. I was trying to see who was in the car but couldn’t get a good look. Then I noticed a bumper sticker that said, “If you are against gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person!”

After a few more turns I was starting to wonder if this was really meant to be. Then the car pulled over to the curb and stopped. I whipped in behind them and got out. I ran up to the car and the driver rolled his window down. I could tell he was worried. “Hi!” I said. “Did you just get married?” “Yes, we did,” he answered, glancing at the young man sitting next to him. “Congratulations! I’d like to give you a wedding present.” I held out the $100 bill and the driver took it, looking dumbfounded. The other guy said, “Oh, no! You couldn’t! That’s too nice! Oh, my god! Why??” He reached over to shake my hand.

They got out of the car, gave me a hug and said I could take their picture. They held up a little banner saying “Just Married.” They wanted to know more about what I was doing and we talked about their plans for the money. Ben said they had gotten married on Sunday and about 100 people had attended. Some of their family in Utah hadn’t been able to make it, so they were saving up for a trip back home in December. They were very grateful.

I got to my appointment right on time. It turned out that my hairdresser had spaced out and left early so I just headed home. It was kind of funny how it all worked out.

There’s too much hate and  intolerance in this world, and not enough devotion and tenderness. I’ll be raising a glass to Bob and Ben tonight.

Bob and Ben

23 Responses to Just Married

  1. Melanie says:

    I love this. Especially the bumper sticker. I would like to think this could start a movement. One kind act toward a stranger starts another. Pay It Forward and Margaret Mead come to mind. It reminds me to smile more and that there are people like you who make this world and Portland a bit more kind.

  2. Penny Gruver says:

    I love the synchronisity of this! I actually was at MY hair appointment today when the talk turned to homophobia in general. I was able to listen to and visit with a young woman (30 something) who had grown up in a very intolerant household and, hopefully, give her a different point of view. I ended our 1/2 hr. conversation by saying “LOVE just IS” and that I felt it transcended any and all human dictated boundaries of how it should look. It was a great day, as the young woman said she had never thought about or considered many of the things we talked about. Oh– and I did get a haircut to go with the conversation. I think you are hitting your stride here, Jill! Many blessings and a cyber hug to boot, P.

  3. Cindy Thomas says:

    Jill, Jill, Jill… I am so freakin’ proud of you!! You have me in tears, each and every day with your reports. Tears of pride and joy. If only there were more people like you… you are the best cheapskate around!! xoxoxo and a BIG WOOO-HOOO!!! ~Cindy

  4. Carrie says:

    Another couple days of great stories, Aunt Jill. I love the picture and I wonder if he made the sign himself? His shirt said something about screen printing so I thought maybe he did. Anyway, I’m loving your experiment. Have a great tomorrow! 🙂

  5. deb bernstein says:

    Talk about beshert!

  6. Bob says:

    What a wonderful blog and a wonderful thing you did. We were both dumbfounded at first and then listening to your story and reading your blogs, it melted our hearts. Thank you for making our day! We raised a glass to you and your mother last night!

  7. I think Wanda Sykes is to be credited for that bumper sticker. Watch the hilarious YouTube. Your writing on the Bus Driver and the Cheapskate story is excellent. Self deprecating insight brings out the best of the worst in us.

  8. Timea says:

    I love that one of your angels actually found the blog!

  9. Dear Jill,
    I read about your ‘experiment’ on Oregonlive and found your blog. I’ve read every entry and this one is among my favorites (coming in second is the woman who ‘didn’t have a care in the world’ and rode to work on gas fumes:) There’s so much I want to say…have been having my own crisis of faith lately, sparked in part over the hatred and lack of empathy/compassion one sees, not only in the news, but in the comments on news stories. It seems the more ‘wired’ we are with technology and “social” media — the less connected we are with other humans. The fire department in Tennessee that let the couple’s home burn down because they had not paid their $75 annual fee made me want to leave America… Anyway, your blog here has really made my day and restored a bit of my faith. I love your honesty and candidness and the issues you face with ‘judging’ who you will give the C-note to. Money is such a complicated thing, isn’t it? It comes with so much emotional/mental ‘baggage.’ Thank you again for sharing your experiences with us.
    And congratulations, Bob and Ben!

    • Houdini says:

      Thanks for telling me about this Trishia.

      What a lovely story and what a truly lovely blog!

      We have a progrmamme here in the UK called ‘Secret Millionaire’ – do you have anything similar in the States? A millionaire goes to poor areas and pretends to be just an ‘everyday’ person. They soon find themselves at the heart of the local community surrounded by people who have so little themselves but yet give so much to others.

      At the end of the programme, they come out of their disguise and hand out big cheques of money to those most deserving and worthy. I’ve only ever seen it a couple of times – but it’s a tearjerker to say the least.

      I’m sure your mum would be proud.

      Best Wishes from over the ocean – Al x

      • Thanks for reading across the pond!! A couple of people have mentioned a show called Millionaire; I did see a couple of episodes. Bet the British version is better! I’m not sure if the people I choose are “worthy” or what that even means; that’s part of what interested me in this process. I feel now like the whole idea of “worthiness” is strange. Thanks for reading! Jill

    • Thank you! There is a lot to be discouraged about so we all have to stick together and keep the faith in humanity! Jill

  10. Yay for this great couple and your randomly finding them. We are in the middle of all these horrible suicides, “don’t ask don’t tell”, and people trying to dictate who can’t get married. This blog entry and the picture of these happily newlywed guys gleams a positive beacon on what really matters: love. I find your stories so compelling. This blog is a gift to all of us. Thank you so much.

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