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Guest viewpoint


Lost money, found America



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November 28, 2012 - This is a story that could only happen in a small town, and only because it was two days before Thanksgiving. I know it is true because it happened to me.

We've all been there: rushing through an already crazy busy day – and it's only 10am. I think that's why our brains go into automatic with some of the daily routines that have become, well… routine.

So routine in fact, that after stopping at the bank, I went to the local market to get a sandwich for lunch, paid and left on my way. The next stop was to a recently added rehearsal before yet another meeting, and other mundane tasks (laundry.) Life. Routine. Normal for my day off.

Just like in the movies, it all changed with a phone call. Hailey at Clarkston State Bank was calling to let me know they had my envelope. Of money.

You see, when I left the bank and went into Rudy's Market in downtown Clarkston; I was holding a plain light blue envelope in my hand. I picked up a hand basket and put the envelope inside while I gathered a few items.

I remembered to buy celery and a fresh sandwich. After putting everything on the counter, I remembered to replace the hand basket to it's rack, then paid for my purchases, exchanged a few pleasant words, and left. It was all so automatic.

So imagine my surprise when Hailey called. She told me how KayCee at the check-out found the envelope and told Dawn, the other woman working at the checkout. They told Robert Essaki, the owner, and it was he who brought it to the bank. Of course I went to the bank and there was my envelope. I think I practically danced as I went into Rudy's and thanked Robert and the ladies.

I was so excited I came home and posted this on FB:

"Why I love Clarkston: too much in my brain as I walked out of Rudy's Market & Catering leaving behind an envelope with $200 inside. A little while later I got a call from Clarkston State Bank telling me Robert had brought it over to them. His checkout women saw the envelope, gave it to their boss who did the right thing and took it to where I bank. How cool is that??? Try that in a big city - not! Come to Clarkston on Small Business Saturday and you'll see what makes this area so special - it's the people! Happy Thanksgiving to all!"

And the comments came in, and one in particular caught my attention. Her thought was that this story could have happened anywhere. I beg to differ.

This is a small town story all right. The envelope contained $200 in CASH. My name was not on the envelope – it was totally blank.

You see, on the eve of Thanksgiving, this is the story of relationships in small-town America. In our quest for bigger and faster, it is the story of slowing down to exchange a few pleasantries. Of knowing that the people in a small town look out for each other. Anyone who looked inside could have taken a few bills. At least four hands touched that envelope but every single dollar bill was there.

That's why the big stores clamoring for your business don't get it. Robert has been through some tough times just like all of us. No corporation to back him up through the ups and downs of the economy.

He's just a small businessman, who like so many others make up the backbone of this fine country. He carries the load of responsibility to hire good and honest people, make payroll, pay for products, rotate perishables and keep an over 100-year old building looking sparkling clean. In other words – Robert Essaki and Rudy's Market are the essence of America at our best.

Do you long for a place like this? I can tell you it's real. Come up to Clarkston to shop, dine and to remember what makes a small town more special with each passing year.

On Small Business Saturday and throughout the weeks and years ahead, I will continue to support Rudy's Market. As for me, you know whom I will be praising on this Thanksgiving: two ordinary extraordinary women who work at Rudy's, and the man behind the counter, Robert. God bless you, and prosper you, one and all.

Sherry Regiani lives in Clarkston and works at David W Regiani DDS PC Holistic General Dentistry in Ortonville

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