The Compound Effect?

40 cents = a 1 with 50 zeros

Would this be an example of the Compound Effect? I will elaborate and allow you, as the reader, to decide.

We had just entered Walmart, my 8 year old son and I. Greg was heading with me down the aisle at the front of the store. As we walked towards the other end, we noticed, about 20 feet in front of us, a boy of about 6 and his younger sister, maybe 4 standing at the Key Game machine looking inside the window.  A lady was walking towards us, about 5 feet on the other side of the children. As she approached closer we heard her suggest to them to check in the metal dispensing door at the bottom of the machine, there should be a surprise. She stopped and pointed it out with the end of her cane.  The young boy bent down and opened up the little metal dispensing door and sure enough there were 4 super bouncy balls which rolled out.  As she walked away, the woman said to no one in particular, “I work here. I knew they would be there.”  What a kind hearted woman!

A quick flash to the last time we were in Walmart. Greg had played the same game and immediately (within 10 seconds or so) lost.  He wanted to play another time.  I suggested he consider whether he wanted to spend his money on something else he wanted or if he wanted to play the game again.  He chose to wait to see what else he wanted and we walked away. Obviously we had not read the fine print where it said “Everyone’s a winner” – right beside the metal dispensing door (about shin level towards the bottom of the machine). The bouncy balls were the prize one would win when their $1 coin did not dispense any of the key prizes from the game. Neither Greg nor I had realized this.

Greg stopped to watch as the little boy took out all 4 balls and pondered them. He chose one for himself, handed one to his sister and then proceeded to put the remaining 2 back in the machines dispensing door. Wow! What a kind and thoughtful act from a little boy. His mother called and off they ran with their prizes clutched tightly in their little fists.

I nudged Greg and suggested he too get a ball (seeing as he had spent a $1 the last time – it seemed reasonable). He was on his knees in a flash and had both balls in his hand. When he stood to leave, I asked him whether he wanted to take both or whether he thought he should do as the other little boy had, and only take what he needed for himself and leave the last one for another lucky person – maybe another child. He agreed and quickly put the 4th ball back. A coach-able kid!

The balance of the time in Walmart was spent with him bouncing the ball and seeing how high it could go – then having to run after it to get it, as it would just veer off in a different direction rather than straight back into his hand.  He took it to school the very next day.

A week later, we were on our way to Walmart again. Greg was in the car with a $1 coin ready to go. He had asked for 4 days to go play the Key Game. He had it all figured out. He was going to use his dollar to play the game.  He would try to win something from the window but if he did not, he would get the super bouncy ball.  He really wanted another bouncy ball.  He would also see if there were any extra inside the metal dispensing door as he told his friend at school that he would try and get him one.  I asked what had happened to the ball he had from the last visit?  It was on the roof of the school. One of his friends “bounced it so-oo00 hard it went all the way onto the roof.”

Since we have not seen his 2 soccer balls which went on the school roof last month, I surmised it was highly unlikely we would see a bouncy ball returned.

First stop inside the store – the Key Game. Greg tries his coin 3x and it just keeps coming back out.   There is no way to play.  The machine is out of order. He looks below, inside the metal dispending door – nothing! No balls to share with his friend.

He spent the next 15 minutes chatting about how his friend was going to be disappointed. I mentioned we could look around to see if we could find any. No luck.  Walmart did not sell super bouncy balls.

A few days went by. My husband was in the Dollar Store today (to purchase the magnifying glass and the compasses for the MKMMA course) and comes home with a package of 5 (that is FIVE) super bouncy balls for a $1.  That works out to…you guessed it….20 cents each.

Greg had just finished up his night time routine and popped into the office to say goodnight (we were on the Digital Connections call).  Walter held out the 5 balls cupped in his hand in the plastic package and asked which one would he like. His face lit up and he chose 1. He then asked whether he could choose another for his friend so he could give it to him tomorrow. Of course! He chose another.

Our child was inside himself with joy. He hugged his dad. Ran over to me and hugged me. (What did I do?) He then said he was “so thankful” so much so that it would be “a 1 with 50 zeros after it.”  Thoughtful and grateful! We are blessed.

40 cents = a 1 with 50 zeros

I return to my earlier question.  Would this be an example of the compound effect? I allow you to ponder and decide.

Enjoy your day. Be an observer. Be generous. Be kind. Greet the day with love in your heart!

7 thoughts on “The Compound Effect?

  1. Heather

    You have one special boy there. He is SO special, that he attracts other special children too! So wonderful that that first boy only took what he needed and put the rest back. And from that, your son learned to do the same. This story gave me great joy and a loud smile! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Kathy Zimmer

    Awesome story about the selfless actions of a coachable young man….

    He’s learning the power of ‘give more, get more’ which will serve him well his entire life.
    The compound effect is truly an awesome formula available to every one of us if we understand and implement it…

    Well done!

    Reply
  3. Fran Patoskie

    I was smiling from ear to ear reading your story! That is one that will go down in your family history, for sure! Great job, mom and dad!

    Reply

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