The Lottery Ticket

I went out. It was raining. I met a hobo, walking in the pouring rain, pushing a shopping cart. Dressed in a muddy grey coat, unshaven, his hair long and wet. He appeared in the distance enveloped by a mist of tiny droplets, approaching fast, walking with long strides toward me. His dog, a no-breed, no-good, ugly gray tiny mutt, resembling with its wet, dirty fur so much it owner, was trotting behind trying to catch up. I stopped in front of the hobo and with an impulse of generosity said,

“You are getting wet. Take my umbrella.”

“How about you?” he replied.

“I live a block away. I will be okay.”

The hobo smiled and without any more explanation, hesitation or convincing, took my umbrella. He dug in the right pocket of his coat, then the left, and finally took out a greasy, creased lottery ticket, half torn.

“I don’t want it free. Take this ticket. It might be a lucky one. I am sure it will put a smile on your face at the very least.”

I took the ticket and left with a smile on my face, indeed. I had done a good deed, and he had been willing to accept it, too. Sometimes it’s harder to accept help than to offer it.…

 

A week later, I went to the neighborhood grocery to check the ticket. A little boy in front of me bought a bottle of vinegar, eggs, and a jar of pickles. The cashier asked him,

“Do you want a double bag?” The boy shook his head, paid and left. I handed the ticket to the clerk—it was a winning one. The prize was five bucks.

“What a coincidence,” I thought. “That was exactly as much as I paid for the umbrella. There must be karma in this world.”

 

 

I left the store and almost bumped into the boy who had bought groceries before me. On the ground was the plastic bag. I could see that the jar of pickles, the bottle of vinegar, and the eggs had all broken. He stood there looking quite miserable.

“What happened?” I asked.

“The handle of the bag ripped off…. I have just a couple of dollars and change left. My mom will be angry with me. She always says that I am careless.”

I gave him the five dollars, the only money I had on me. I started for home, feeling light and happy that I had helped the boy at least a little bit and his mother wouldn’t be angry with him. That lottery ticket did put a smile on my face … twice. Hmm, sometimes happiness really costs only five bucks… Misery costs exactly the same.

 

by Rosko Tzolov  | Featured Image by  Verna Cular 

 

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Rosko Tzolov