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The Outdated Bill

by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore,India)

Hailing from a country notorious for small swindling as well as super scams, certain experiences I had abroad have left an indelible print on me.


After a pleasant, long stay at our son’s place at Maui, Hawaii, we were home bound. Since it was our third visit and also as our onward journey had been booked by Korean Air, our son was confident that we would find our way and so did not accompany us to Honolulu, the international hub. We took the small 19 seater Aloha Airlines aircraft from Maui and landed in Honolulu airport half an hour later.

Loading our humongous items of luggage on to a groaning trolley, we proceeded towards the Korean Air counter. There we were told that the pilots of the said airlines were on a strike and so they were trying to put us on alternative airlines.

After quite a bit of running up and down tensely hampered as we were by our overloaded trolley, we were told that we would be put on Japan Airlines flight which in fact would take off earlier than Korean Air schedule.

Leaving my husband with the luggage in the lounge, I snatched a single dollar bill from my purse and rushed to ring up my daughter-in law at Maui lest they hear about the strike and worry. There I found a long line of passengers waiting patiently for their turn at the telephone booth. I joined the line behind a fair young man whose nationality I could not fathom.

I was feeling nervous as I was not sure if I would be able to put forth my case in my Indian accent if I were to deal with an operator. The young gentleman saw me fidgeting nervously with the dollar note. He looked at the note and said, “The dollar bill you have is outdated. It will not be accepted by the phone.” I got panicky. Being an alien I could not make out an outdated dollar bill from a current one. I did not have any more one- dollar notes. I did not want to leave my place in the line to go back and change a higher denomination note.

Seeing me in distress, the young man offered to help me. He took my son’s telephone number from me. When his turn in the line came, he put in his own dollar bill (a crisp, current one), dialed the number, waited till my daughter- in law came on line and then handed the phone to me. I explained the situation to her and put the telephone back. By now the young man had finished his talk at the next cubicle. I thanked him profusely and went back to join my husband at the embarkation line at the Japan Airlines counter.

How often do we come across such good Samaritans in life! Such small acts of selflessness indeed make you feel that there is certainly a benevolent presence up there watching over you.


*******

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Jul 28, 2013
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Thanks
by: vimala ramu

Dear Geeta,
Late or early, it is always a pleasure to hear from friends.

Jul 27, 2013
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Very late to this post
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

Well late is never too late....enjoyed reading your optimistic post. Yes, we encounter goodness where we least expect it. And that's how I suppose world moved on. If we were to believe the pessimists and the skeptics, the world by now would have come to an end!!!

Jul 10, 2013
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unusual
by: vimala ramu

It is the unusualness of the young man's action that made me mention it as a special article. Thank you Eva for visiting.

Jul 10, 2013
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The Outdated Bill.
by: Eva Bell

You had a lucky encounter with the young man.
If there are more people like him, the world will
be a happier place.

Jul 06, 2013
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good to hear
by: vimala ramu

Dear Sneha,
Good to hear from you. Were you in Germany when this happened/

Jul 03, 2013
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ratio and proportion
by: vimala ramu

True Seetharam. This R and P is the one that keeps humanity going.

Jul 03, 2013
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Interesting
by: Sneha

I got a tad emotional reading this, Vimala. Reminds me of my experience with a German student studying at Frankfurt - near about my age, at the domestic airport counter, waiting to translate stuff. I know very little German and that did the trick. I indeed believe that there are still traces of goodness left in this world of ours.

Jul 03, 2013
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Samaritans
by: Seetharam

Remember Vimala, for every crook in this world there is an honest person also.

Jul 03, 2013
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Thanks
by: vimala ramu

Thank you my dear friend for your excellent analysis.But you have kept me guessing regarding your name!

Jul 02, 2013
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Good things happen to good people
by: Anonymous

Vimala Ramu, it can mean multiple things

1) You have done lot of good in your life, as they say, life comes to a full circle :)

2) Maybe, he had a debt to repay (punar janma concept, remember???)

3) You were just plain lucky!

4) Unexpected good fortune coming one's way means the Almighty is watching over you and it also becomes your responsbility to pass it on as and when the need arises.

Loved your article anyway :)

Jul 02, 2013
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thanks
by: vimala ramu

Thank you Pushpa. I did reply to your comment. Surprised not to see it here.

Jul 02, 2013
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thanks
by: vimala ramu

Glad you enjoyed my pathetic saga :)Pankaja.

Jul 02, 2013
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Interesting!
by: nuggehallipankaja

Knowledge-giving incident narrated in the usual interesting style! Enjoyed reading it

Jun 29, 2013
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The Outdated Bill
by: Pushpa Raghuram

Hi Vimala,

Nice experience. Such helpful gestures are also becoming out dated
too, in some places. Lucky you!

Thanks for sharing your experience!

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