Wendi Hansen
January 11, 2015 8:41 am

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “find a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck.” You’re walking down the crowded busy street when all of a sudden, you spy with your little eye a coppery-brown coin smiling up at you from the sidewalk. You stop dead in your tracks. You don’t care if you cause a minor collision with the hoards of pedestrians busily trying to get to where they need to go, nor do you mind if you look a little awkward as you bend over in the middle of a cross walk for no apparent reason. All of the effort is worth it because this little penny has just landed you a day filled to the brim with luck —and who couldn’t use a bit of that every now and then?

There is no scientific proof that simply picking up a penny will give you stupendous luck for the rest of the day, but I like to think it does. I’m not a superstitious gal (with the exception of my lucky socks and baseball hat that I HAVE to wear every time the Milwaukee Brewers play) and generally don’t take too much stake in things like this, but there is a certain feeling of optimism and hope that you get whenever you do find that “lucky penny” that is insurmountable. It’s the belief that maybe, just maybe, this little coin will have some sort of positive impact on your life. I guess you could say it has a pretty powerful placebo effect, since the penny may just be a regular coin with no magical properties whatsoever. But you trick yourself into thinking that this coin possesses some sort of lucky influence. In turn, it makes you do things and behave a certain way that ultimately changes the outcome of your day. Maybe you just make your own luck.

This afternoon, I was crossing the street when I happened to glimpse out of the corner of my eye my very own lucky penny. I stooped down and snatched the coin up, turning it around in my fingers for a brief moment. It was very old—minted all the way back in 1945—and covered in dirt, but I put it in my pocket for safe keeping anyway, hoping that it would bring good luck. Whether it actually would or not I didn’t know, but I instantly felt like I had a bit more of a skip in my step, like anything could happen. Like I said, the lucky penny may just be a penny, but it kind of gives me hope that it is much more than that.

If finding a penny on the ground could turn my frown upside down and turn a very “blah” sort of day into something great, I wondered if it could do the same for other people. How cool would it be if I could change someone’s hour, or day, or life, simply by emptying out my pocket change?

I know what it’s like to be going through a hard time, to be having a bad day or to feel like things are just not going your way. Life is hard and stressful, full of pressures and expectations. It can get pretty overwhelming at times for sure but I also know what it’s like to suddenly feel like you can make it, like you have the strength and the courage and the power to turn things around for the better. Now I know it takes a heck of a lot more than finding a silly penny to make these things happen (but wouldn’t it be great if it didn’t?) but setting up an opportunity for people to find their “luck,” to put a smile on their face, and a skip in their step is a huge step in the right direction.

That is why I came up with and have started the “Change for Change” initiative. I plan on spreading a little “luck” everywhere I go by sporadically dropping and leaving pennies in areas where people are likely to see, and if they so choose, pick up. I am not sure if anyone follows the “find a penny pick it up” notion quite like I do, but I am willing to take that chance in hopes of brightening someone’s day and giving them the same hope that I receive whenever I stumble across that infamous one-cent piece. The whole concept is really so easy and fun to do. Break a dollar? Find some change in your couch? Have a purse or bag or wallet that weighs a bajillion pounds due to all that loose coinage happening in there? Take some of those pennies and set them aside for “Change for Change.” When you find a prime spot to drop them, do it. It’s that simple. I completed my first penny-drop today, using the very penny I had found earlier, outside of a Starbucks and actually got to see my efforts pay off. A little girl found my penny just moments after I had made the drop and totally had a lucky penny moment.

I would absotively-positutely love it if you would like to join me and fellow Gigglers in this challenge, paying it forward and changing lives, once penny at a time (and please feel free to share your stories with me if you do!).

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