This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure policy for details. Thank you for your support!

Find this useful? Share it so others can find it!

This past weekend we had a boys day where 3 generations of us boys (Grandpa, my son and I) go out for a burger and hang out. This day had us end up in a lower income area (to quote my police officer friend “You shouldn’t go in that area”). Never the less, grandpa wanted to try this restaurant and this is where we ended up.


Here’s the situation…

What would you do if you saw a child throw away money?While we were waiting for our burgers at a walk-up burger stand, two girls from the area bought ice cream with their money. The one girl, who was 12 years old (best guess), had two nickels left after her purchase.

Because she couldn’t buy anything with the coins she looked at us and declared:

“I can’t get nothing with ten cents.You want it? Here…” At which point she threw the two nickels onto the sidewalk with the thrust of Thor and his hammer.

Bewildered by the action, I have never seen anyone literally throw away money, my son looked up at me with a “What should I do?” look (I’m sure I was giving the same look back to my son having never seen someone do this before).

With a million thoughts running through my head I said to the girl:

“Are you sure you want to throw away that money?”

“Yeah,” she said with a bit of defiance in her eyes. “I can’t get nothing with that.” and walked away.

My son gathered up the coins, and we had a multi-generational talk about how different people feel about money (both grandpa felt the need to explain that this isn’t something you do to my son).

Related Post: My First Money Lesson 

What would you have done? She literally threw away money!

A big part of me wanted to explain to this child the value of money. How that 10 cents still had value, but you have to save it for it to grow…

Maybe I could have explained how you should treat money with respect… Or say that by saving that 10 cents she could save up for her next ice cream.

There were no shortage of ideas that I wanted to share.

But I didn’t feel that a 12 year old kid, on Saturday, who was out for ice cream with a friend, really wanted to talk about money with someone else’s dad.

Nor do I think she would have listened.

I have been wrestling with this. I feel like I should have done more, but I think even if I had said something it wouldn’t have been heard.

What would you have done? Let me know in the comments below.




  1. Oh yikes. I can see why would wanted to say something and also why you didn’t. If I was a quick enough thinker I might have said something like “Hey, you put enough nickles together and you can buy something cool!”

    • Hey Jax! Yeah it’s a hard one I’m still wondering if saying something would have been the right move. Feels like I should have tried to get through, but she may not have heard me.

  2. I think I would be stunned too and compelled to say something. The best I could think of doing is asking her to give it to her mum or dad or a homeless person, rather than throwing it on the floor. I will pick it up if she still didn’t care.

    • HI Adeline! Stunned is exactly how I felt. I asked her a few times if she was sure she wanted to throw the money away, but she was sure she didn’t want it. It’s a really gut wrenching feeling because you want to help so much but I had the feeling the help offered wouldn’t be received.

  3. That was a hard call for sure. Especially since you were in s not so desirable neighborhood. If you correct someone’s child they come after you if they are anywhere around or she goes home to tell about this. You following your gut was the right thing to do.

    • Thanks Kathy, it’s a tough call, I’m thinking no matter what I did I would have walked away feeling like it wasn’t the greatest move.

Find this useful? Share it so others can find it!