Archived Story

Loose change

Published 9:22am Wednesday, July 25, 2012

He pulled up in front of the Waldorf in his black Lexus and stepped out amidst the cameras.

His chauffeur stepped around and opened the back door as he stepped out amongst the click of cameras. His sterling cufflinks glittered below his black suit as he sauntered toward the front doors.

Inside, he was met and ushered up front to the waiting audience amongst a sea of stares as the rising applause echoed through the cathedral-shaped ballroom. On the podium, he sat just to the left of the lectern as the university president stood to address the crowd.

“We are honored to have such a benefactor in our midst,” the president said. “Never in the history of this prestigious university has a gift of this magnitude been received. On behalf of the university and all it represents, I proudly accept this check for $10 million and assure you it will be used for the benefit of mankind.”

At this, a 3- by 5-foot check was brought forward as both men posed for the media, the applause once again becoming deafening.

“Thank you, thank you,” the benefactor lip-synced, basking in the limelight.

She pulled up in front of “Do Drop In” in her 1995 Chevrolet and glided to a stop in front of the pumps. The rejection sticker on her windshield betrayed two slick tires and a faulty turn signal.

All the windows were down to provide some relief in the 95-degree heat as sweat poured from the 6- and 8-year-old in the rear seat. With squeaking doors, they all exited the stifling vehicle to find temporary relief in the coolness of the small store.

The children perused the candy aisle and savored its offerings, the aroma all the more compelling. The mother pillaged her purse in hope of finding some undiscovered monies, but to no avail.

Opening a large glass door, cool air tumbled out as she grabbed a gallon of milk. She picked up a loaf of bread on the way to checkout.

“Come along, kids.”

At the counter, she surveyed the young cashier and surmised her situation. A small “tip” jar sat on the counter. After slight hesitation, the mother placed the loaf of bread back on the shelf and grasped a smaller loaf.

The difference, $1.25, she slipped into the jar, leaving just enough to pay for her groceries and $5 of gas. Loading up, she and her two young ones rolled back out on the highway, black smoke the only evidence of their visit.

Now tell me reader; who gave the most?

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is

  • curious

    He that gives from the wallet gives little. He that gives from the heart gives much.

    Suggest Removal

Editor's Picks