Fill the Boot!

Once a year, the firemen dress up in full firemen gear and stand in busy intersections with large boots and signs saying "Fill the Boot: Help firemen help Jerry's Kids". This is a fundraiser for the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association). On my way into Salem the other day, I saw them in Monmouth at our ONE and ONLY stop light (yes, I live in a very small town). However, I was in a rush so I drove on by.

Later that day, I ran into a batch of firemen in Salem. Feeling a little guilty that I haven't been attending church and tithing like I probably should, I decided to donate $5. I know that's not a ton, but I'm also living on a rather limited budget these days. I pulled out my wallet, carefully counted out the $5 from my tips from the night before, rolled down the window and waved one of the firemen over. I dropped the money in the boot, he said thanks, and I rolled up the window and continued on my merry way to work.

A quick glance at my hand instantly turned a feel-good moment into sheer panic mode. You see, I still had $5 in my hand. Meaning I inadvertently dropped $75 in the boot. In case you didn't read that correctly, I just said that I accidentally dropped seventy-five dollars into the fireman's boot.

Tears instantly stung my eyes and I had no clue what I was supposed to do. I was in total disbelief. Who accidentally donates almost $80 to charity? Apparently I do. Blessedly, I had enough sense to call my best friend Kaitlynn and tell her what had happened. In a rushed, barely comprehensible slur of words, I managed to get out "I jus accident *gasp* drop *gasp* 75 in fireman's boot, *gulp* what do i do?" Luckily, we've been friends long enough that she speaks fluent Natalese, and translated instantly.

"You have to go back and get it!"

"I can't do that, that's so tacky!"

"Natalie, that's $75, I think they'll understand."

So, I once again rolled down my window and flagged the fireman over and attempted to explain my sob-story. He waved me over to a nearby parking lot, crouched down (semi-condescendingly) next to the window, and gave me an amused smile. Then he reached into his boot, pulled out the wad of cash (thank God I fold my tips in a funny way) and handed it back to me. I traded him for the $5 and thanked him profusely, meanwhile apologizing for being such a tacky person, and drove away - increasingly grateful for the ugly loaner car I'm currently driving because it means no one I know recognized me pulling the ever-so-classy move of RECOLLECTING my donated money.

That's what I get for not going to church more regularly. :)


kendra said…
Pride ALWAYS comes before a fall. =-) Anytime, ANYTIME I start to think "wow, I just did a good thing" or "man, I am such a good person!" (come on, you ALL know you have those moments!!) then I instantly trip into a person with a walker and knock them over. Ok, not exactly, but you get the point. I can pretty much count on getting turned into a jackass rather quickly.
I am PROUD of you for going back and reclaiming your much needed money. It needed to be done!
Hope today is a better day.
I love you sister!!!
Vanessa's Dad said…
OK... whatever gets you goin' to church regularly can't be all bad.

Ya did the right thing, darlin'. Please don't feel tacky or bad about going back to "adjust" your donation to the correct amount.

Another chapter in the "I Love Natalie" situation comedy that is your life, "Natalie... you've got some 'splainin' to do!"

Amanda said…
Hey Blondie! Glad you were able to help out a good cause. And glad you knew the right thing to do for you was to go back and admit you made a mistake and make it right. There's nothing wrong with that.

I saw the firemen outside of Albertson's today and dug around in my wallet to come up with $5 as well. If my college student sister can donate $5, than so can I.
Ohhhh nooooooo. I feel your pain. You still did the right thing.