The Cop and his Lucky Penny Project

How's your world? Mine needs a little help. As I look around me I see sadness, anger and I hear about war and famine. When I try to think about how I could help, the task seems way too big and overwhelming. There were days when I didn't do anything to contribute to the world around me because I didn't believe there was anything that I could do to help. Suddenly one day I realized that it doesn't just take something big to help improve the world, sometimes in only takes some small actions done everyday by lots of people to really have a lasting and positive impact on our world.

I worked as a cop for twenty-three years. When I got hired I told the interview panel "I wanted to help people and save the world". During my career I saw a lot of things that made me think there was nothing I could do to really make a difference in the world. Then one day as I was watching, a small boy saw a penny on the sidewalk and as he bent down to pick it up you would have thought that he had discovered the greatest treasure in the world. He yelled out in delight as he clapped his hands and made a big production of bending over and carefully picking it up. You would have thought that it was a butterfly or other delicate object as carefully as he handled it.

I was having so much fun watching him that I just chuckled to my self and thought how simple a child's life is and thought that we could all learn from that small boy about the delights of the world. I didn't think any more about it for several years. Then it happened again as I was standing near a crowded sidewalk just watching people pass by. I was working a security detail so I would greet everyone and say hello but my job was just to stand to the side and observe the pedestrian traffic for signs of any problems.

As I watched I saw a grown man spot a penny on the ground and he responded with the same behaviors that the little boy had exhibited years earlier. He threw his arms up in the air, let out a big scream and while flapping his arms in the air, bent over to pick up the simple little penny. Everyone watching noticed that he was very excited and he acted like he had just discovered a $100 bill. It was so outlandish that I had to laugh out loud. The man noticed me watching him and said to me: "See a penny, pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck!" Then he put the treasured penny into his pocket and walked away whistling to himself.

I was amazed at how the discovery of a simple penny could have such a similar effect on children as it did on adults and I found it encouraging that something so simple could bring such a great deal of joy to everyone. Even if their joy was short lived it was gratifying to see people from different walks of life and different ages have so much fun with their discoveries.

I started dropping pennies for other people to find. First I used pennies out of my old penny jar and now I buy shinny new pennies and always carry a few in my pocket. Now I plant pennies everywhere. Most of the time I don't see what happens when people find them but I know from experience that they smile.

I started planting a penny for myself too so that I would see it first thing in the morning and start my day with a positive belief that I was going to have a happy and lucky day. The effect on my attitude was tremendous and I'm sure that all the pennies I've planted for other people have reaped many smiles. It's not much but I know the world can't help but be better with more people smiling and more people with a positive attitude about their day.

That's my simple plan to help people and save the world. What's your plan? If you don't have one right now I invite you to join my "Penny Posse" and be a penny planter too! All that I ask of you is that you don't plant them where someone might slip on your penny and fall. We all want to make the world a better place and I think we can do it one smile at a time.












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