Maybe not since Delbert Dunmire was throwing out cash in 1990 has money been given away around the city of Abilene.
Late Monday, after taking pictures of Abilene High School’s musical performers in “Disney Descendents,” I was leaving the office and noticed a $1 bill taped to the newspaper rack.
I figured someone had picked up more than one newspaper but didn’t have quarters.
I was wrong.
“This Thanksgiving, I wanted to ‘pay it forward’ by performing anonymous, random acts of kindness. I have so much for which I am thankful that in the spirit of giving I simply wanted to share my happiness with others,” said the note with it. “So, I hope this little surprise provides you with as much pleasure in receiving it unexpectedly as it did in my act of giving. If you are able to do so, I encourage you to ‘pay it forward’ as well. Enjoy!”
My instincts as a newspaper reporter told me that this smelled like a great story.
Someone, like Dunmire, was giving away cash in town!
Some will recall that when Dunmire couldn’t pay a poker debt in 1959, he drove to Abilene. In the bank he handed teller Lambert Haug a note demanding money. He was handed $1,200. After a lengthy chase, he was caught.
He served two years in prison and was released early for good behavior.
He went on to become a millionaire and returned to Abilene to hand out loads of cash in 1990.
While it wasn’t loads of cash, the money that was given away Monday night throughout 12 locations in town seemed like a lot to a 9-year-old girl.
Monday night she, driven around town by her grandmother, taped 10 $1 bills and two $5 bills to Abilene landmarks.
Some of the places she chose included:
• Little Ike statue
• Little Ike Park mural map box
• Statue of children reading at the Abilene Public Library
• Ben Franklin statue at the Abilene Public Library
• Little Pantry at the First United Methodist Church
• East door of the First United Methodist Church
• One of the tanks in Eisenhower Park
• Map sign in front of the Visitors Center at the Eisenhower Presidential Library
She was going to put one on a vending machine in front of Zey’s Market and on the door of the laundromat on Third Street, but there were too many people around.
And, of course, one went on the newspaper rack in front of the Reflector-Chronicle office.
“I felt good,” said the little girl when asked about the project.
The idea came through her great-aunt who provided the cash and the notes. Naturally, the little girl could have gone out and bought a toy for herself but, apparently, that notion never occurred to her and instead, she paid it forward.
What came as a bigger surprise to me after I got home from work and I was telling my wife about it, was the origin of that note on the paper rack. That turned out to be my granddaughter Gemma and the great-aunt responsible for the idea was my wife’s sister, Cheri’ Couture. It sure brought a smile to my face and I hope to those, also, who received the surprises around town.