Angels Among Us Community Stories

To The Lady Who Gave Me $4.63

To the lady who gave me $4.63 today in the New Leash on Life thrift store: 

I love thrift stores. I love getting things and making them over. I love being able to get fabric to sew with and help animals and the environment at the same time.

Today, I was the first person in line, and both my credit and debit cards got denied — for $4.63. I don’t know why it happened. There was money in both accounts, and on top of that, I have several fail safes set on my bank account so that I’m only embarrassed with the bank, not at the store in the event something does happen. 

You stepped in to pay for my things: a J. Crew hoodie a coffee cup of someone walking multiple dogs that I thought was hilarious — you’ll understand that later.

However, here’s what you didn’t know:

Today is my last day being 30. It has been a monumentally horrible year, like trying to stand up in the ocean and as soon as you get your footing, another wave comes and knocks you on your face. I’ve had two surgeries and no less than 50 blood tests done. I’ve had the flu twice because I’m allergic to eggs and can’t get the shot. I spent the last week in bed with that stomach bug that is taking people down right now. I actually spent so much time sick in bed that I can quote every line to every episode of “Friends,” “New Girl” and “Criminal Minds.” There’s even a little (OK a big) butt dent in the couch where I sat so much. 

This was the year I got a new car and then shut my garage door on aforementioned car.

This was the year doctors told me I had the MTHFR gene mutation. Do you know how hard it is to be someone who tries not to swear and then get diagnosed with something called MTHFR?

This was the year I gave up carbs and Diet Coke, two of my greatest loves in life.

It was the year I thought it was a great idea to adopt a feral chihuahua — my fourth dog — while I was recovering from the first surgery. He’s cute, but man, that dog is a mess. 

This was the year I got really into true crime and tried unsuccessfully to solve the Maura Murray case.

It was also the year I learned that I’m not good at graphic design — a $600 mistake after my church put up a billboard I had worked on that looked like it was advertising for another church. 

I don’t say all of this to get your sympathy. Everything that happened to me falls into the make-you-stronger category, or at the very least, the make-you-smarter one. The big things in my life are still going well — my family, my husband and my faith remain solid. Everyone has these years, right? It’s just part of being alive. 

Normally, I would say my debit and credit cards failed as a way to keep my pride in check, but that’s not even true today. Before I ran into that thrift store, I’d already hugged a man in Walmart I thought was my uncle (he wasn’t) and realized my jacket was shedding all over my shirt, making it look like a Muppet threw up on me. Pride is pretty much the one thing I do have in check these days. 

I write this to you because it’s so wonderfully ironic. Every time something bad happens to me, I pay for someone’s groceries. My husband doesn’t even know that, although looking back, I feel like I probably should have run it by him in advance. Oh well, I’m not on the short list for Wife of the Year anyway. It’s ironic because I normally keep $5 hidden in my keychain for this very purpose. But of course, I lost my keys two weeks ago, and I’m using the spare. It’s ironic because I always tell the person whose groceries I’m helping to buy, “We’ve all been there — when you know you have money, and the cards don’t work.” 

I told you I’d pay it forward, and I will. I’ll never know you, but I do hope you read this. I hope you realize that $4.63 made this terrible year end on a better note. You’ve given me a little more hope that 31 will be better. 

Thank you again,


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About the author


Jessie Harbin

Jessie lives in Meridianville with her husband, baby and four dogs. She thrives on chaos, and loves finding good news stories where you least expect them.

1 Comment

  • I have never met Jessie except through a mutual love we share for animals. We foster/adopt for FORS, Friends of Rescue. I talk to her on Facebook about our chiahaua, Peanut that was found with her Frankie. We didn’t know their history but to agree with her statement of “being a mess”, that is putting it lightly. It is a mess in a wonderful way. I just want to say that I love her posts on fb, she is genuinely funny and witty. I always lol when I read her posts. On that note, paying it forward is a wonderful way to share a little sunshine in someone’s day. I try to do something small once a week. In a world where people fail me miserably it is so refreshing to know there a good people like Jessie keeping the faith. Wonderful story!🙂

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