It was a very cold day in January, the kind of cold that seeps into your bones until your toes are numb. However, the cold outside did not stop customers from passing through the corner store to pick up the usual random items that require quick stops on the way home: milk, a bundle of firewood, or a snack to hold them over until dinnertime.
Lora, the clerk, realized she was short on change in the till with several hours left until closing time, so she hurriedly walked across the street to trade some bills for change at the bank before it closed for the evening. As she dashed back across to her little store, Lora felt something at her ankles and looked down to see a scraggly little cat. She felt guilty, but had to shoo the cat away.
Later, counting out the till, she realized she was short a $20 bill. Lora realized she likely dropped the cash outside and with a deep sigh, added her own last $20 bill to the till so her employer wouldn’t dock her pay for the mistake.
Reluctantly, she put back the groceries she had planned on purchasing and closed the shop. Suddenly, she heard a meow— it was the scruffy little street cat from earlier. This time, he was curled up against the wall, barely out of the wind.
Lora decided it wouldn’t hurt to bring him home for one warm night, and scooped him up before she could change her mind. As she did so, the $20 bill fluttered down the street toward her. In that instant, Lora understood an age-old lesson: we get back what we put out.
She decided to use the $20 to purchase dinner for herself... and her new pet cat.