What would have a greater impact on your life – giving a stranger a hundred dollar bill or having a stranger give you that bill?

For a few people, the day a total stranger handed them a hundred dollars completely changed the course of their lives.  A few got off the street for a few nights.  Others bought much needed food, or gas for the car so that they could get to work. For many it restored hope. For some it strengthened their faith in humanity or in something bigger than themselves.  A few changed their self-perception; they became visible when they so often felt invisible. Some felt a divine hand at work, like the day two woman sitting at a table were handed the money.  It turns out they were in the middle of praying for a miracle and they are convinced they received a visit and the money from an angel.

For almost everyone, it changed their day, week, or month for the better. Some used the money for necessities, some for niceties, and some paid it forward.  And of course for some it was just a nice, if odd, gift and that was that.

And what about the woman who gave away all that money?  Who is she, why did she do it, and how was she changed as a result?

To understand Jill Ginsberg‘s story you could /should start at the beginning and then move on to her first entry.   She will tell you that she decided to give away a hundred dollar bill every day for a month for two reasons: to honour her mother who had died recently, and because she is a cheapskate who wanted to change her relationship with money.  While that may have been her motivation when she started, it doesn’t explain why she kept doing it when the month was up.  In the end she gave away thousands of dollars over two years. Perhaps it was because, as she says in one story: “It’s my way of trying to make the world a little smaller,”

Jill is not the first person to give money away to strangers, and she isn’t the only one to write about it (really well it turns out).   What makes her blog so interesting and addictive is the honesty, humanity, humour, humility and heart (that’s it – can’t think of any more appropriate words starting with H) that she brings to every story.  But don’t take my word for it.  In one story Jill gave the money to a small family and as  she walked away she heard the young blind daughter say:  “Grandma? I told you I could see with my heart.”    After reading a few of these stories you will be convinced Jill can do the same thing.

Hundreds of Hundreds. 

Charlie
Charlie

 

Timothy
Timothy

 

Jill Ginsberg and the Man with the Red Shoes

Jill Ginsberg and the Man with the Red Shoes

 

Boomerang
Boomerang

 

Best Bus Stop Ever
Best Bus Stop Ever

 

Girl with Cecilia
Serena

March 2014

Copyright © JD Cottier

All Photographs Copyright © Jill Ginsberg

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