Posted by: Kathy White | July 17, 2010

I Yam What I Yam — or the tale of the cool 9-year-old

I love this story. My best friend came to visit and told this story last night about her daughter Jordan. I love kids. We need to get back to this kind of sensibility:

Jordan went to the grocery store with her mother to pick up a few things. While standing near the meat counter, Jordan found a one-dollar bill on the floor. She showed her mother who said “well, good for you.” Jordan looked at her mother and pointedly said “I need to turn it in.” Jen  recovered quickly and said “Of course, of course. We should find somebody who works here to turn it in to.”

Jordan looked around and stepped up to the meat counter and began saying “excuse me.” The man behind the counter couldn’t hear her and really couldn’t see her all that well, either. Jordan repeated her “excuse me” to get his attention until he finally came around the counter, bloody apron and all, to see what this kid wanted.

“I found this dollar bill on the ground and want to turn it in.” He bends down a little to get a closer look and shoots a glance at Jen who is standing back to let Jordan handle her situation. Jen has a mixed look of pride and hilarity on her face.

“Well, I’d take this over to customer service and let them know. If nobody claims it, then the dollar will be yours.” This sounds reasonable to Jordan so off she goes to find customer service, with Jen trailing behind.

Once at the customer service counter, Jordan patiently explains to Wendy that she has found this dollar bill and wants to turn it in. Wendy takes the dollar bill and as she turns away, Jordan says, “Excuse me. The man at that counter over there (pointing in the general direction of the meat counter) said if nobody claims it, it’s mine.”

Wendy stops about halfway down the counter and turns back and says, “Why of course.” She pulls out a sticky pad and puts Jordan’s name and Jen’s phone number on the dollar bill so that Jordan can be notified if nobody claims the dollar. All the while, Wendy has a look like “seriously, this is my job now?” Jordan waits for this all to get done and off they go.

Now, Jen assumes that  will be the end of it. Hardly.

Next day, there’s a phone message from Wendy saying nobody had claimed her dollar and Jordan was free to come get her cash. Jen plays the message for Jordan who is instantly excited by her new-found wealth. Off to the store they go.

Wendy isn’t working this day so Jordan has to explain her visit to the new guy behind the counter who immediately says “You must be Jordan.” And, he officially hands over the dollar.

Now the fun really begins. What to do, what to do, what to do with a dollar. Jordan decides to spend her dollar on  — wait for it — a yam. Yes, a yam. She remembered liking one at some point in her life and decides she wants a yam. So, Jen grabs one and weighs it to make sure it’ll come in under the $1 mark and off they go to the checkout.

After paying a whopping .81 for her yam, she spotted the candy bars and asked the checkout guy if what she had left was enough for a candy bar, too? Of course not but Mom came up with a little more change and lo and behold, the man behind the counter reaches in his pocket and covers the remaining amount.

To give some perspective to how this story ends, I have to explain where Jen’s life is right now. She’s in the middle of a big, messy move from her house in Stockton to Elk Grove, her employment is up in the air — just generally it’s a very trying time. So, what does Jordan say in the car on the way home?

“Mom, my life is perfect.” Jen cracks up and says to herself “on my side of the car the world is falling apart and just one chair over, my child’s life is perfect. I think I’m just going to go with her on this one for awhile.”

This is the happy tale of the kid with a good conscience, a yam, a candy bar, the people she came across who helped her out — and helped make her life perfect.

Jordan and her bounty


  1. Amazing, I love this!

  2. When Jen first wrote about this on Face Book I told the story to a few close friends…friends that know who my ‘Alameda’ friends are (no matter where they live). They have all been over to read this and just think it’s the coolest story. Today;
    “What are we gonna take to the bar-b-que tomorrow?”
    “Well, we’ll need to pick up a yam.”

  3. It was a good day. We made yam fries.

  4. That is a great story & a great pic!

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