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  • This afternoon I did a double-take before I dropped a coin in the rain-clouded parking meter outside of the post office.

    It said that 71 hours and 40 minutes remained on the meter.

    I marveled over this. The meter plainly said there was a two hour limit beneath the numbers. Maybe it was broken. But I imagined that it was actually able to allow you to park your car for three days outside the post office. I couldn't even count how many coins that would take, but it seemed like a miracle to me. Like winning the parking jackpot.

    Part of me secretly hoped that a kind soul had stood there, plunking nickle after nickle into the meter and twisting the awkward metal knob over and over again each time, chuckling madly over his strange secret gift to his fellow man.

    I still held my nickel in my hand. I had three days free. I could walk to Columbus Ohio and back in that time. The nickle felt miniscule to me; light as a Necco wafer.

    This was preposterous. The meter was clearly broken. I only needed the spot for a minute or two. I decided to give my nickle to the machine, anyway.

    Might have wasted five cents, but I felt like I was giving the whole 71 hours and, now, 50 minutes for the next guy. Literally paying it forward, I dropped it into the broken meter and happily twisted the knob.
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