We have all made that search in the couch cushions when we were looking for pizza money or change for the parking meter. But for Johnny this was his quest for a building a small bankroll and heading to the races. He had earned the name of Johnny Dollar long ago, as he was always asking players at the track to lend him a buck.
John was a painter by trade and was injured on the job one day. The doctor said he would be out for about three months, and this was coming at the worst time of year for his family. He was fearing that he would not have enough money to purchase presents as his medical bills were mounting. So he took to working at a local carwash doing interior work. He would wipe down windows and spray down your dirty interior to get things sparkling. On this day, he reached down in the seat and found three twenty dollar bills waded up tightly. He thought about sticking them into his pocket until the spirit of Christmas hit him. He pulled out the money, and gave it to the owner of the car. The owner was so surprised and didn’t even know he had this pot of gold jammed in his seat.
Johnny was happy to see him feel good, but could only think about what it would have been for him to have the magic $60 in his hands. It was about this time the driver of the car came up and thanked him and handed him the $60 dollars. He said, “Hell, I would have never known about it until you honestly brought it up to me. So you keep it, Merry Christmas.”
Johnny Dollar was back in action. He heading out to the races, and he couldn’t wait to get back in the game. But something happened on the way to the track. He pulled off at the local toy store and bought his kids some gifts from Santa. He took the remainder of the money and added in his few tips from the day and purchased a turkey and all of the fix-ins for his family to enjoy Christmas dinner.
He must have told this story every year near Christmas when he was at the races. He said it kinda’ hurt at first, but seeing his children’s faces made it all clear for him. On this day Johnny Dollar was a winner. He didn’t even have to pick a race, but he walked off as happy as if he had won. The Christmas of 1985 was a good year for Johnny, and I have been seeing him every year since. He still wears his painters clothes, and you can bet we will all hear about his “big win” every December.