I’ve got an unusual challenge for you: pick a day and give away $100 in cash.
I call it the “Give a Benjamin Day.” Benjamin Franklin is, of course, the founding father whose face is on the $100 bill.
Why give a Benjamin? I believe there’s something beautiful in random acts of spontaneous generosity. There’s something amazing when you have an opportunity to give away something of value. But such a “random” act of generosity can give something equally amazing to the recipient.
One year, I had the same attendant several different times when checking out of the airport parking lot toll booth. I asked her questions while she processed my credit card. She told me she read books to pass the time and that, one day, she hoped to get a Kindle. The next time through, I gave her $100. She was speechless.
Who does that kind of thing? That’s what giving does. It reminds us that this life is not about us. It reminds us that there is value and worth in our giving. Because when we give, we reflect the Ultimate Giver. There’s a power in that giving which is hard to touch.
Some time back I proposed the idea of a “Give a Benjamin Day” to some friends of mine. Most were enthusiastic, but some confessed that they weren’t sure how to do it.
I think it’s important to note that we should follow the nudge that God gives. We need to be a little less concerned that the money will be used well, and maybe for once just be a bit reckless in our generosity.
In any event, below are a few ideas for how you could give away $100.
16 ideas on giving a Benjamin
- Pay for the entire line of people behind you in the coffee shop.
- Go to a dollar store or a thrift store, and leave notes with cash on the shelves for other customers to find—“Bless you, in Jesus’ name.”
- Go to a restaurant (probably not upscale) and leave a $100 tip.
- Go to a bus station or train station and give the cash to a traveler.
- Go to a more difficult neighborhood gas station and give the clerk a $100 gift.
- Find some folks in need outside a local rescue mission.
- Tape some cash to the gas station pump for the next person.
- Give some cash to workers at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
- Find an all-night diner and give some cash to someone on the late shift.
- Go to your local Meals on Wheels and tape cash inside of a meal delivery.
- Go to an auto repair shop and pay $100 toward the bill of a single mom.
- Find a rough-looking car—rusted out, beat up—and leave cash in an envelope for the driver.
- Go to your local school and pay for lunches for those who cannot afford to pay for their own.
- Give a Sonic carhop a $100 tip.
- Get coffee at a local university coffee shop and give the cash to a college student.
- Pay for the breakfast of another guest and then give your waitress a big tip.
These are just a few ideas. You may have some ideas of your own—share them with me! Even better, share your stories of giving away $100. And have fun!
Photo by Andres Perez on Unsplash
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Published September 8, 2021