The Best Three Dollars I Spent in 2016


We spend a lot of money every year … but this was the best $3 that I spend in 2016.

Between family holidays, school fees and supplies, providing food for around 5500 meals and countless snacks and drinks, house payments, petrol and the odd coffee …. we churn through a stack of dough. A lot of it is very good and frugal, and we contribute to some charities and projects … but in the end, most of it is spent on ourselves.

The other day I was at an event in the city with my family and because I am writing this blog, I was sitting outside working while the kids were inside enjoying the show. Coincidently there was a special Christmas lunch happening for disadvantaged kids put on by a non-profit and funded by lots of corporates at the same venue.

After the event, a dad walked down to the vending machine right next to me with his son who had a few health issues and was begging for a packet of chips. The father had just made it through a really big morning getting there, standing in huge lines with his son and a baby, and I could see that it would really help if he could give his son this request. He said “Sure mate” and the kid jumped with glee.

The problem was that the vending machine card reader didn’t work so he needed cash, which he didn’t have. He explained to his son that he actually would not be able to buy him the chips after-all. Well a predictable tantrum followed because he was just so disappointed and couldn’t really understand.

Then the father had a brain wave and eased the commotion by telling his son that he could go to the automatic teller across the hall and all would be well. I watched him push the stroller across and I was happy for them all. That was until they returned and discovered that the vending machine would not accept their notes either.

Seriously? in 2016? I saw the look of horror come over the poor guy as he realised that he would have to handle another lay down tantrum in about 10 seconds and then still have to try and get everyone to the car and home. I’ve so been there haha!!!

I did what you would have too. I quietly offered the frazzled father the $3 he needed to restore some peace to his world … it was nothing. It cost me a completely insignificant amount and in fact, the main risk was that he wouldn’t want it and I would feel dumb.

I am not telling you this because it was a great act of generosity … in fact the opposite. It was nothing! Common place, obvious, normal …. but even such a super small thing brought so much joy to a little boy, relief to a father who was only just hanging in there. That $3 brought me more joy too than any other $3 I can remember in 2016.

That is the part that made me think. How often do I think to do a little thing for someone when I see them struggling? In my head its all the time but if I think about it … it isn’t that often really at all. Not to a stranger anyway who is right with me and not in a developing country somewhere on the end of an online donation page.

I am going to try to do that a lot more in 2017 and I can highly recommend it too.



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