L a u r e n S c r u d a t o
Oh shit. No way! Where
I really wish I kept my room cleaner so I could find things.
I hate having these baby heart attack moments.
I continue to frantically look all over my tiny apartment
for the $92 I had just gotten from the campus bookstore for returning my textbooks.
I sprint outside and use the dim light from my cellphone as
a flashlight, scanning the ground I just covered 20 minutes earlier. I walk up
the street hunched over, eyes focused on anything that resembles currency. At
the end of Center Street I run into my roommate, Merry.
“Lauren, uh, what are you doing?”
I dejectedly tell her what happened. She volunteers to drive
me up the street towards campus to see if the money still may be on the ground.
Right. I’m living
in a world where protesters of the Occupy movement are arguing that the
wealthiest 1% are greedy crooks stealing money from the rest of the economic
classes. How could I expect my money to remain untouched on the ground in a
town full of broke college kids?
We circle the street and then she drops me off on campus to
follow my tracks back to the book store. Just as I thought. In the 20 minutes
it took me to realize I had lost it, some lucky bastard stumbled across it and
picked it up.
“Well, at least I made someone’s day,” I later tell Merry
and our friend, Schiff.
Merry, Schiff, and I hang out in the apartment the rest of
the night, but I still cannot shake the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach
from losing $92.
The next afternoon, I’m walking down the same road I scoured
the night before, the same route I take to class on a daily basis. It’s a
miserable rainy day, so I have my hood up and watch the ground.
This became unlike all the other walks.
I notice a home-made sign taped to a “no parking” post. The
wind folds the plain white paper in half so I can’t read it. I continue
walking, but see another sign a few feet up the sidewalk. This time I have some
sort of intuition that I should read the sign.
The sign reads, “If you lost money here recently and can
tell me roughly how much, the size of the bills, and what night of the week, I
will gladly return it,” with a phone number listed underneath. My heart
immediately inflates. I disregard the rain and dial the number right away. Ring
after ring, no answer.
I leave a quick message and continue to class, trying to hide
my grin so that people walking past wouldn’t think I’m insane.
A couple hours later, the “Christmas Angel” as Merry later
dubbed her, phones and asks me to meet her at a restaurant called
Cafeteria, where she works. I make my way to the restaurant and see the only
girl in the place behind the counter.
She looks about the same age as me. She has long, light
brown hair that’s slightly frizzy and no makeup on. She is a naturally pretty girl.
“I cannot thank you enough,” I say. “I assumed someone just
“Ah, no worries. I must have walked outside just after you
dropped it. Glad to help,” she says as she reaches into her pocket and pulls
out all $92.
“Here, please, take $20 of it. I wouldn’t have any of this
at all if it wasn’t for you,”
“No, no don’t worry about it,” she says.
I try to insist a few times more, but she keeps refusing.
I go home and let my friends and family know about the
encounter. Their faces show the same awe I felt. I then realize I forgot to ask
the girl her name.
Lauren Scrudato is from Hampton, New Jersey. She is studying journalism and anthropology at SUNY New Paltz.