It’s important for friends to take care of one another.

A few weeks ago, I’d put in a very long Saturday workday. I covered the annual Hog on the Hill barbecue festival, and then had a playoff baseball game to attend to. Yep, eating delicious smoked pork and watching a ballgame constitutes “work” for me. Anyway, I had wrapped things up and was about to head home, but I needed to pick up a few essential items before doing so. I stopped at a local Chester grocery store, got what I needed and got in line to check out.

As my items were being run up I noticed a fellow over at the counter where lottery tickets are sold. The Powerball jackpot was up to something like seventy gojillion dollars at that point. There was only a few minutes left to buy tickets before that night’s drawing and this fellow was obviously doing just that. “I need you to hook me up with the winning number,” he announced to the lady printing the tickets.

It was funny, since the lady obviously has no power to know what the winning numbers would be and unless you specifically pick numbers, they are just randomly assigned to you. Still, whether it was an attempt to curry some good luck or for comedic purposes, he kept telling the lady he REALLY needed to win the lottery and that he just knew she was his gateway to untold riches (roughly seventy gojillion dollars).

I laughed, the guy knew he had an audience at that point, so he started to sweeten the pot.

“Once you give me winning the numbers, I’m going to buy you a car,” he told the lady.

At that point, even though I wasn’t in line to buy tickets and wasn’t going to get any, I felt the need to enter the conversation.

“That guy does not love you,” I told the woman printing the tickets. “He’s going to win all that money and not buy you anything but a car? That’s nothing. Sell me the winning ticket and I’ll buy you a car and a house. A big house with a pool and a garage to put your new Rolls Royce in.”

The guy realized I was cutting into his potential gojillion dollar winnings and had to up his offer.

“I’ll buy you a car, a house and your own grocery store,” he countered.

It was all in good fun. I wished him luck as I walked on out the door. As you look back on those kinds of happenings, you realize that you didn’t just toss a few jokes back and forth, you bonded with someone. I remember someone once telling me there was no such thing as a stranger, just a friend they haven’t met yet. That’s a great perspective. Don’t close off opportunities to build new relationships. Every face you see represents a chance to expand your circle and enhance your life. Friends are what count in this world and you can never have too many.

Interestingly, I saw a few days later that Chester County DID in fact have a lottery winner. They didn’t claim the full seventy gojillion dollar prize, but they did win a cool $2 million. The ticket was sold on the Saturday I mentioned at the very store I was in. So now I’m curious as to whether the winner was the guy who was promising cars and grocery stores to the clerk in exchange for the winning number. I sure hope so. If it is, my advice to him is to be careful, because a lot of people are motivated by money and will try to work their way into his life. When you come into lots of money, it is important to take care of friends but also to know who your friends really are.

You know who is your friend? Me. I’m your friend.

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