Ah, Sims … our supermarket of choice.
Right outside this West Footscray institution can be an interesting place, too.
There’s racks for bikes; often enough, these are also used for tethering interesting dogs while their owners are inside shopping.
There’s always interesting people, too, coming and going.
We’re well used to running into friends and readers right here.
But in all our years shopping at Sims, I have never experienced an event as surreal as that of this week.
Pulling in for a typical mid-week, post-work top up of cat food and a few others bits and pieces, I amble towards the ATM to make a withdrawal.
Shockingly, as I get there I find a fistful of $50 notes hanging out of it.
Now, I confess to being guilty of having, in the past, absendmindedly left money – $50 one time, $100 on another – at ATMs.
But this is a first – finding “free” money at a money machine.
And in considerable quantity.
I deftly grab the cash and stuff it in my pocket, before going about the business of my own transaction.
And all the while I’m wondering about just how to handle this …
After all, I suspect that for whoever left this money here, this will constitute a cataclysmic event.
I know it would be for me!
I glance over my shoulder, seeing an old bloke shuffling with his shopping across the road to his car.
Maybe it’s him?
As I continue to ponder this dilemma, all the while going through the process of my own (much more modest) withdrawal, a young bloke comes out of the supermarket, approaches me and the ATM and asks:
“Did you find $400 here?”
Reply I: “Stand back a bit, mate, while I finish my business.”
Once done, I stroll a few paces away, followed by my new friend.
He tries a variation on his theme:
“Was there $400 there?”
I reach into my pocket, pull out the money – and count it.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven – sure enough, I have eight $50 dollar notes.
I hand it over to the young man, saying:
“Mate, this sure as hell is your lucky day”
He mumbles some not particularly gracious thanks and heads straight back into Sims.
I follow him, so see him head straight into the bottle shop.
Hell, that’s precisely what I’d do, too!
So my ethical conundrum has been short-circuited by the arrival of the money’s rightful owner.
I’m not quite sure how I would’ve handled it had the bloke not arrived.
The Sims staff subsequently tell me they’re well used to customers leaving all sorts of stuff in the aisles – including sums of money a lot bigger than $400.
In any case, IF there is any such thing as karma, I fully expect that when I go to check on my modest Powerball quick pick, the machine will cheerfully emit that tinkly winner’s tune.
Just kidding – I don’t believe in karma, and particularly not any tit-for-tat variety that sways lottery tickets!
Hmm, sounds like you were just about to make off with your find had you not been approached by the rightful owner of the money (twice no less). Not sure if karma is in your side here.
I was happy to hand it over. Twice? No. I simply asked him to let me finish my withdrawal.
Whew! Now I’m back – and warm – after watching rugby league in Werribee, let me add:
Someone with few or no scruples could’ve easily walked away from this situation with the money.
But nevertheless, you are correct – this was no good deed on my part.
Merely doing the right thing does not constitute good works deserving of recompense through good fortune with a lottery ticket.
Besides which, I no more believe in such a hocus pocus concept of karma than I do in “prosperity” theology or astrology.
Perhaps I should’ve made that clear?
What if the bloke seeking to reclaim his $400 had not matched the exact amount I had found?
Would I have been tempted?
Yes: I’m human, sure as hell ain’t no saint and money is tight.
But I’m glad things worked out as they did!
Look, I enjoy reading your blog, but this is weird.
The ATM at Sims (and virtually every ATM ever) pulls money back in after fifteen seconds. You could’ve just ‘supervised’ the function and all would’ve been well – owner of the cash can then call their bank, and they handle it all from there.
“Stand back a bit, mate, while I finish my business.” – seriously? Either give it to the staff at Sims to look after, watch it go back into the machine, or answer his question with something a little less rude. I can see why the owner of the money wasn’t particularly gracious. Why did you follow him afterwards?
If karma is your concern, I don’t think you’re going to get a Powerball win any time soon. I’m surprised you posted this on virtually every inner west Facebook group since it portrays you in a stunningly bad light. Methinks you should stick to describing food instead of your bizarre behaviour.
Geez mate take a chill. 15 seconds? If that’s true, I did not know it. I followed him in because I had shopping to do. I asked him to stand back as I was inputting my pin number. How do you like someone peering over your shoulder while you use an ATM? I’ve considered amending the story to make it more explicit, but on reflection I believe it’s more than clear enough for anyone not wilfully intent on misreading me. BTW, I periodically post on non-food topics. And I wish more of my food posts got the sort of numbers this one has. I post on FB community pages because people like it.
I’m not sure why everyone’s fussing over this, I am just seeing/reading some very human interactions in one of those every day street situations. Good story Kenny. It’s real.