Being new in town as a mother of a preschooler, the Butterfly Festival at the Kansas Wetland Education Center offered a great opportunity. Unfortunately, my preggy brain let me make a terrible mistake. I couldnt find my debit card, so I grabbed cash instead. We garaged saled, then went to the Wetland Education Center, toured the exhibits, meet great people, then got our butterfly nets.
Dashing after butterflies in the sunflowers, we caught our first monarch in 5 minutes. My son, Eli, had a great time showing off the butterfly to a graduate student who made him feel very special. Eight months pregnant, I was so enlivened by the experience that I ran along the banks, climbed over piles of dead wood, and caught a second swiping while on the run.
I sat at home with a sense of content exhaustion, until I reached in my pocket and found 4 $1 bills. Panic filled my chest. I didnt know how much was in my pocket at the start of the day, but I knew I still had a house for sale in Salina, upcoming medical bills, and that I only have 12 days of paid leave and a baby due in 5 weeks.
I fretted over the money, wondering how I would call and claim I’d lost an unknown amount of cash. Who would believe me? I got the answering machine on the first two calls and didn’t leave a message. If I had any chance of getting that money back, I needed a human voice and empathy. The third call I got ahold of a man at the front desk, the same guy who had held a snake for my son to touch two weeks before. I sheepishly explained the folded stack of cash and how I didn’t know exactly how much was there. He put me on hold. When he came back he said there was a stack of cash, and by the description it was probably mine. He said I could drive down to get it. Unbelievable! Was this western Kansas setting moral enough that I could lose a stack of cash, not know exactly how much it was, and people were honest enough that I could still get it back?
I drove there immediately. I walked in at 5:01, a minute after their closing time. I told them my name, he opened a drawer, and handed me the money. I said You’re handing me cash and it may feel cheap to get a bless you, but this cash means I get an extra day at home with my baby before going back to work. God bless your honesty today.
I didn’t count the cash until I was alone in the parking lot - $240. God bless western Kansas and the honest people weve encountered here. We are glad to be new residents of Great Bend!