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by Christopher Gerffin

People we meet come and go throughout life. Most you won't remember a week or two later. Insignificant interactions can indeed really be significant, but that doesn't change the fact that people can only appreciate so much. People are busy and need to comfort those they love. One can't blame another for paying more attention to his or her bills than to bus driver or the one that sweeps up the place you work. It's just that everything is interconnected in the ever complex world and the simplest parts of life may have the most profound consequences, whether good or bad.

Such as the case one day when Judy Gretchen was doing her early morning run she had done commonly over the past years. A very determined hard-working individual who worked for the police department in St. Paul Minnesota, Judy was foremost a mother and wife of many years. She was thin and strong in figure, with wavy medium lengthen brown hair and sparkling brown eyes. She was shorter than most and above anything she was very attractive. What shown on the outside was nothing compared to what was on the inside however. Throughout life her sweet, shy, and kind personality was shown through her incredible compassion for others. Judy was a terrific friend, and a terrific family person, even if her passion sometimes got the best of her. Politically she was as far left as one could get, but at the same time she was friends with Republicans. She was the all American great lady in almost conceivable way.

But this day, as she run block after block though the early morning hours, was not her average trek. As the skies showed their early morning hues of reds and oranges and as the few people outside at 5:00 AM worked on the yard and walked their dogs among other things, Judy stopped in her footsteps. In a neighborhood close to where she lived and friendly to her every time she ran through it, she just looked down at a small black stitched case with a few dollar bills poking out. It was just on the grass on the boulevard by a tall tree, and she could have very easily missed it, though Judy was a cunning one for noticing details others often did not. Wondering who it belonged to she picked it up and whipped it open. She looked through all it folds but found no ID or information what so ever of whom it may belong to. She counted the money inside to be about $150. She thought briefly about the person who lost, and why no identification was present. It obviously wasn't stolen due to the wad of cash still inside. There could be many explanations perhaps but at the moment she could think of none. It wasn't an expensive wallet so maybe it belonged to a less affluent person. Hesitating for a moment or two she threw it back on the ground where she found it, and gently stuffed the cash in the pocket of her black and white striped sweatpants. She didn't know what she'd do with the money, but knew the chance of finding the owner would have been very small. As she started jogging her mind raced, perhaps feeling a little guilty but not of taking the money itself. It was the fact that she felt fine with taking it that caused a bit of shame and confusion in her head.

Was Judy a bad person for taking the money and not at least attempting to find it rightful owner? Sure many others would have done the same thing, but you'd hardly expect it from someone as kind and generous as Judy. She put ever cent of that money into a charity that gave college scholarships to lower income kids. The guilt she mildly felt didn't last long, though for whatever reason she didn't tell a soul about it. Judy, a 38 year old mother of two boys, vigilant police officer, and most respected member of the community, would hardly ever think of the situation again. Ironically it may have been one of the most important things she'd ever do.

The wallet belonged to a man named David Manes, a 22 year old African American who dealt drugs in the community. He threw the wallet out of his old red Ford Mustang in hesitation of the thought of being followed by someone during the dark of night. He came back no less than 12 hours later to find the cash gone, as he expected though definitely not taken by who he would have expected. In truth that money didn't mean a whole lot to David. He was still easily able to pay debts and continued dealing drugs for years. What was significant is that he was saving up for a firearm, and although he got one just a couple weeks later, by then he had cooled off enough to not put a number of bullet holes in his girlfriend who he would catch cheating on him the very day after Judy made the faithful decision to take the money.

Amber, David's fortunate girlfriend, eventually was pulled in by shelter to help prostitutes and addicts, got some job training, and went to marry, have kids, and be a productive member of a community. She was active in helping poor African Americans as she had once been. She would attend community meetings to try to deal with crime such as being committed by people like her former boyfriend. In a radical twist she would once shake the hand and introduce herself to Judy Gretchen at one of these meetings. Neither would ever know that one saved the life of the other.

        Yes we are truly connected in ways that one would never imagine. Judy could never have known what she did would have had such importance. Neither could Amber ever imagine that something so simple had saved her life. Was it luck, fate, or a little of both? Whatever it was it's a story no one will ever know completely, and perhaps it's better and simpler that way.

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