The Power of Penny

Mary - Chattanooog, Tennessee
Entered on June 8, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

One day, while shopping with a friend, I noticed that she dropped some change on the ground. She bent over, as if to pick it up. However, when she stood back up, the change was still on the floor. It was then that I noticed it was just a penny, lying heads up on the ground.

“I think you dropped your change. I mean, it is just a penny, but—” she interrupted me then.

“Yeah, that’s why I drop them. I don’t need them, so I drop them and make sure that they’re heads up” she replied.

“Why do they have to be heads up?”

“Because if they aren’t heads up, then they aren’t lucky.”

It was then that I realized that she was leaving lucky pennies for other people to find. It was just a small act of kindness just to brighten some unknown person’s day. After that, I started to believe in lucky pennies. Well, maybe not the actual penny, but the power a lucky penny has to brighten someone’s day. I know that I’m always a little happier after I find one.

But then I started to think, what if everyone did things like that? A small, simple act of consideration is all. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant, just something enough to make someone’s bad day a little better. All my friend did was drop a penny on the ground. Later on that day, someone must have walked by, saw the glint of the shiny penny on the floor, and picked it up—hoping it would bring them luck. That little act of compassion brought a smile to someone’s face. So, what would happen if everyone dropped their pennies on the ground? I believe that small actions can have big impacts.

A few months ago, I received a gift for my birthday from a previous teacher. Attached to the gift was a card with my name on it. Being the person that I am, I put the card aside and opened the gift first. It was an adorable, purple, polka-dot photo album with a few pictures inside. I set the album aside and opened the card, expecting the generic happy birthday, Taylor! Instead I found a long, handwritten note. It was one of the kindest letters I have ever gotten. That letter was my favorite birthday present that year.

So, I believe in lucky pennies. But more than lucky pennies, I believe in kindness, compassion, and big impacts. Not gigantic, exaggerated consideration, but small, effortless things to make someone, someone you don’t even know, smile. So, I encourage you to drop a penny today—and remember—make sure it’s heads up.