I went down to the hotel lobby to find out about local shopping. As I waited for the concierge to finish with the guest before me, I noticed a penny on the floor by my foot. I bent down and picked it up. The concierge gave me brochures for two big malls in Atlanta, as well as walking directions to the subway. While I was walking through the maze of buildings, on my way to the subway, I decided that I really wasn't in the mood for mall shopping and would much prefer shopping in specialty shops for different kinds of gifts. The thought had no sooner crossed my mind when I turned the corner, and found myself in the middle of a food court, surrounded by specialty shops. Delighted, I started to browse and met some great people along the way.
I decided it was time for a coffee break. As I walked toward the coffee vendor, I lost my footing, spun around a bit, and lost my balance. Although I didn't fall, I had turned about 90 degrees and almost twisted my ankle. As I got my bearings, I found myself looking into a bookstore and directly at one specific bookshelf. The only title that I could see clearly was a small book titled Small Miracles. I looked down to see why I had slipped and there, on the floor was another penny. I picked it up and went into the bookstore and purchased the book.
I proceeded to the coffee vendor, found another penny at my foot while they got my coffee. I found a seat and began reading the book. It was all about coincidences. Believe it or not, the introduction even makes references to finding pennies! Okay, so that got my attention paying attention as I recalled all the pennies I had found since I left my room this morning. It was as if I was being called to pay close attention to where the pennies were leading me.
Awhile later, I headed back to my room to check out and head out to catch my flight. When I arrived at the airport, I found out that my flight was cancelled. The next flight home was full, so I was rebooked on another flight to another destination that would eventually get me home to Providence in two flights. I didn't have much choice if I wanted to get home in time for an event I had scheduled.
As I approached the new gate for the rebooked flight, I heard someone call my name. It was a man I had graduated college with 15 years before. I hadn't seen since graduation! As we caught up, they made an announcement that my flight was delayed. The delay would cause me to miss my connection. He offered to let me stay with him and catch an early flight out in the morning. What were the chances?
I needed to call home to let them know that I would not be home that night, but the lines for the phones were outrageous. (Clearly this all happened way back, before the days that my cell phone was always charged and close to the palm of my hand! ) I walked down to one of the gates with a shorter line and waited my turn in line. I was next in line. I dropped my calling card on the floor and as I bent down to pick it up, I noticed a penny at my foot. Of course I picked it up. As I lifted my head, I looked up to see a colleague making a phone call. I had not seen him in over a year! Our eyes met and a smile came across his face as he motioned for me to wait for him.
As he came over to me, he was shaking his head and reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a piece of paper that had a list of names. My name was on that list of people he was going to call the next day. Although we hadn't done business together for over a year, he had just signed a contract that day that he wanted to talk to me about a contract! I asked him where he was headed. He was going direct to St. Louis, I was headed to Pittsburgh. I asked him why he was making a call at the Portland, Maine gate and he said that he just kept walking until he got to the shortest telephone line!
As I walked back to the Pittsburgh gate, I noticed that the direct flight to Providence that was previously full was in the final boarding stages. Something made me approach the ticket agent and ask if there were any available seats. The attendant informed me that there was one more seat. She changed my ticket and in a few minutes, I was on my way home via the direct flight to Providence.
I was the last passenger to board the plane. As I went to sit down, there was a penny on my seat! The man in the seat next to me commented on the smile I had on my face. He said I looked like the cat that ate the canary. I told him the story of my day, starting with the first penny outside my hotel room and ending with the one I had just found on my seat. As I looked at the penny, I noticed the words, "In God We Trust". God, Source, Universe, whatever you want to call it, there was definitely something guiding me along a path paved with pennies. I was amazed, he was curious and we talked a lot about life, coincidences and paying attention on that flight.
As we were waiting to deplane, he shook my hand and thanked me for sharing my days events. He said that he needed to be reminded to trust something beyond himself. He needed to be reminded about faith. He said that he needed to be reminded to get out of his head and pay attention to what was happening around him. He said, with tears in his eyes, that my story was just what he needed to hear to wake him up before he lost his wife and family. He continued ...
He told me that when he had left on his trip, his wife told him she wanted a divorce. She told him that he had become disconnected from life, their relationship and their family. He simply wasn't paying attention. We walked off the plane and headed to baggage claim where I watched him hug his wife and whisper something in her ear. She smiled and hugged him back. I sensed a renewed connection.
I smiled at him, waved and wiped away a tear. And when I went to call my ride, I found a quarter on the top of the pay phone!!! I have been finding the coins and the signs ever since. And I always pay attention!