The Diner Incident

Marc Friedlander, Feb 19, 2011

Part 1-


Last night we went to the local diner.
We took a booth and sat down.
Waiting for service I glanced idly about.
My gaze fell by chance to the counter, about 15 feet away from our booth, and then to the floor, right by the counter stools.
There, on the floor by the counter, in plain sight, was the unmistakable color of money - a bill - a greenback!
I could see it was not a mere single. It had that noble air about it, that the higher denominations somehow seem to project. I could not tell just how noble, though, at my distance.
Now that I was aware of it, it was fully occupying my previously vacant mind.

I assessed the situation.  Looking around, the diner was busy. The bill was just a few feet from the iconic swinging doors to the kitchen. There was a gaggle of waitresses/waiters (excuse me, I mean "servers"), all shooting the breeze, just steps away from the coveted scrap of green and crinkly.

Should I make a move?

A young man walked over and sat on the stool above the bill.
I was trying to formulate an approach that would not arouse attention, when our waitress came over with the menus.   (cont'd)



Part 2-

So there I was - wife knew nothing about the bill - waitress standing there asking for our drink order. Trying to appear as bored and casual as I could, I asked for coffee, and just for good measure, confirmed that they did, in fact, have sweet potato fries.
Now, before I continue, it's important that I state, I have no compunction to glom what is not mine, nor to skim the hard earned wages from our hard working servers.
I thought I might point it out to the waitress, or turn it over to the manager - but the first thing was to gain possession of it, and THEN decide what to do about it.
The waitress walked off, the gaggle continued gaggling right by the bill, and foot traffic streamed through the swinging doors. At any moment, that bill was going to vaporize - it was now or never. Heart pounding, I got up, walked over to the bill, bent over, plucked it off the floor, walked back to the booth, and as I sat down, the bill somehow disappeared into my pocket.
Not even wife noticed that I had moved.
No cry of, "EXCUSE ME SIR" from the gaggle .  No firm hand clasping me by my hand, or shoulder, or neck - or any other part of me.
I realized, at that point, to wave the bill in the air and inquire, "this belong to anybody?", or to turn it in, expecting it to wind up in a better, fairer place than where it was (my pocket) would be pure lunacy.  (cont'd)




Part 3-   

The bill burning in my pocket, I said to wife, something cool just happened, but I don't know exactly how cool, and I don't want to tell you what it is until we leave (thought I'd jinx it, if I started talking about it). She said that's nice, and continued the conversation we were having about whatever - the cost of Swifers made in China as opposed to those made in the USA .
When we did leave (I left a nice tip) I related what had happened, taking just as long to tell it as it took me to write this. I didn't take the bill out and look at it until we got home, prolonging the anticipation.   (cont'd)



Part 4-

It was a twenty.
I don't normally use emoticons, but in this case I'll make an exception - or multiple exceptions.


:-)  :-)  :-) 

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