I told my story to about 100 Kaiser Permanente retirees today; it was lovely. They were a very attentive and thoughtful audience and had lots of great questions. Am I ever afraid? How do I choose? How do I start talking to a stranger? What will I do after 100 hundreds in 2011? Why a hundred dollar bill rather than five twenties? What would my mother say?

It left me with a lot to think about and I was still pondering everything when I headed downtown to meet a friend for Happy Hour. It was a beautiful day. People just getting out of work were looking around in amazement, like: “this is what’s been going on outside all day?”

I parked right outside the old Bank of California building on SW Stark and 6th. I love this building; it reminds me of something you’d see in New York or Boston. It’s vacant now. I found some interesting facts about the building here.

The beautiful door of the old Bank of California

The ornate flagpole holders and light fixtures caught my eye.

Flagpole holder

Then I noticed a woman crouched down on the sidewalk. She was eating from a brown takeout box. I went closer and saw that she was actually sitting on her backpack. A bicycle helmet was on the ground next to her.

She was sitting on her backpack, eating from a takeout box.

“Nice place for a picnic!” I offered. “Yeah,” she said, with a smile. “I have to go in to work in a minute. It’s nice out here.” She said she worked inside at the Marriott’s restaurant, as a server.

She had finished eating and stood up to go inside. “Hey,” I said. “I think this is a lucky day for you.” She smiled and looked at me, puzzled. She was wearing a necklace the same color as her striking blues eyes. “I want to give this to you. It’s something I’m doing in honor of my mom.”

I held out the hundred dollar bill and she just stared at it. “No! That’s too much! No way! What is this?” I explained a little about what I was doing and she took the bill, her eyes tearing up. “That’s just amazing,” she said. “I don’t know why I’m getting so emotional!” She gave me a big hug and told me her name was Bri. “This is too weird,” she said. “I feel like I should do something with it to pay you back.” I said she could pay it forward or keep it for herself, or some of both. Whatever she wanted.

I told her about the blog and she said I could take her picture. Then she hugged me again and said she had better get to work. “Have a good night,” I said. “Remember, it’s your lucky day!”

She smiled. Her luminous smile.





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One Response to Bri’s Lucky Day

  1. Briana Surin-Torres says:

    Hi Jill,

    It has been close to a year since you extended a gift of kindness to me and I feel I owe you a long overdue thank you! Your kindness was so touching and inspiring. It is so easy to lose hope in humanity and the kindness and compassion that we are capable of. Admittedly, before I met you I had become quite jaded and untrusting of people and their motives. Thank you for being an inspiration and allowing me the joy of paying it forward. If I may quote Kicking Bird’s character in “Dances With Wolves”: “I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life there is one that matters most. It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail and it is good to see” Thank you for helping restore my hope in humanity!



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