Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lucky me

My cousin and his wife were in town last weekend to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. After leaving them to their own devices for Saturday and Sunday, I drove them around Monday to sample some inexpensive points of interest, like Hoover Dam and the Fremont Street Experience.

I make a last-second decision to eat at Baja Fresh for a late lunch, and my cousin-in-law discovers that her vegetarian nachos have a strip of steak at the bottom. She shows it to the manager -- we all ordered vegetarian, so the complaint has to be legitimate -- and he offers her a $10 certificate.

After the free show at the Rio, my cousin hands us each a quarter as we stand by a set of three unoccupied slot machines. Their quarters' aspirations end quickly. Mine turns up 3 blue sevens, and 25 cents becomes five dollars. Knowing my limits, I press the button marked "Cash Out" and hand them the payout ticket. She then moves to another, more complicated machine and promptly converts that amount to $12.75. They redeem this ticket, cutting their modest losses for the weekend by a little.

That night on Fremont Street, as we were leaving, I notice some white booklet on the floor. I pick it up. It's a travelers check booklet, issued by MasterCard and Mizuho Bank and presumably dropped by a Japanese visitor. One check remains inside, for $100. It's not countersigned, but I still feel like I should do something about it. So today I reported it found and mailed it out to the appropriate financial services center. There may or may not be a reward.

I'm normally not this lucky. I think I can explain the streak of good fortune, though: I volunteered to play tour guide for members of my family, so the day wasn't really about me. In other words, it's remarkable how good things can get when I'm playing a supporting role in someone else's story.

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