Otha Anders began saving pennies in the late 60s. He saved his first penny after he saw it sitting there on the ground. He picked it up, put it in his pocket, and never looked back. Every time he saw a penny after that, he would save them in a water jug.
“This is God’s way of saying that I should always be thankful…seeing a penny would remind me to pray.” Each penny was special, and he would save them – even if it meant that he had to break a $1 bill to do so. He never spent his pennies, only collected them.
Over time, his friends, family, and even his students knew that he was collecting pennies. They would try to give them their extra pennies, but he would never take them. It was the principal of what he was doing that made the pennies so special, and in turn, it allowed the people around him to appreciate what they had been given as well.
After all of these years, he built up an impressive collection, but was always adding more. When he found a penny, no matter where he was, he would keep it. If he found a penny on the ground at a friend’s house, he would just tell them, “it’s just a penny, I’m keeping it.” His relationship with pennies continued to grow, even in his old age.
But everything changed when his homeowner’s insurance declined to cover his penny collection. After over 40 years of collecting every penny that he saw on the ground, it was finally time to bring his pennies to the bank. With the help of friends and family, Anders reluctantly loaded up fifteen 5-gallon plastic water jugs full of pennies and took them to his bank.
This wasn’t an ordinary trip to the bank. Since Anders is a long-time customer, he was able to coordinate with the Vice President of the bank to have a counting machine ready to go with extra bags available for his massive penny collection. Every 20 minutes, a staff member would need to change out the bag inside of the machine, as it would only hold $50 worth of pennies! The entire process took over 5 hours.
After all of those pennies were finally counted and collected, Anders was left with $5,136.14 that he decided to put towards a recent dental bill. The bank sent the pennies off to the FDIC where they would then get credit for them. Sitting there and watching his collection being poured into the counting machine was surreal, but it was a reminder of what picking up those pennies meant to him in the first place.
This story is truly incredible! Although a part of me wishes that he had been able to save his pennies forever. What do you think of this story?
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