Personal Finance

3 Real-Life Money Miracles

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Most of us have experienced a cash crunch at one time or another, and thought, “I need a miracle.” For these three people, a money miracle is exactly what they got.

The 12 Days of Christmas

When he heard a knock on the door that night in mid-December 2008, Chris Miles wasn’t sure if he wanted to answer it. Would he find another door hanger informing him that he had 48 hours to pay his utility bill or have the service cut off? Or other bad news?

Chris was struggling to keep his business afloat through the Great Recession and provide for his family. It wasn’t easy. He and his wife Lyndsie had three children ages four and younger, and another was on the way. They sometimes found themselves relying on friends and family for just the basic necessities.

The 12 Days of Christmas

The Miles Children, December 2008. Image courtesy Chris Miles.

That night he found a sweet treat with a note that read, “It’s the first day of Christmas; And your true loves gives to you…; A white chocolate orange; You can share with the family too!” There was no hint as to who had left it there, and the person who left the gift was nowhere to be seen.

The next night, another knock. This time he found two chocolate turtles and doves (“Two Turtle Doves”). The third night brought a very welcome gift; three frozen chickens. On the sixth day (“Six Geese a Laying”) day the Miles family found a dozen eggs on the porch.

But it was the eighth day that brought them to tears. There was no money for groceries that day; not even to buy milk for their children. “As I went to answer the door,” he recounts, “I could hear several footsteps running off through the snow, obviously to avoid being discovered. To our delighted surprise, we opened the door to find eight quarts of milk on our front porch.”

On day eight of The 12 Days of Christmas, after all, the gift is “Eight Maids a-Milking.”

“As I brought them all in and I looked at Lyndsie with overwhelming gratitude, she and I began crying and embraced each other in the kitchen.” They were touched by the kindness of a stranger who would “brave the cold and help us during our most difficult Christmas ever.”

The Miles’ never did find out who left those 12 days of gifts. Chris did track their footprints in the snow the night after they left the milk on the porch and discovered that several sets stopped near their kitchen window. “I could imagine that they saw our reaction and I hope they could truly see what a Christmas miracle they brought into our lives that evening. I hope that their lives were blessed more than ours.”

Since that year, business has improved and the Miles family has adopted this tradition as their own, and encourages others to do the same. They hope to make the holidays a little brighter for another family, as someone did for them.

The Dream Check

As an actor, comedian, writer and voiceover artist, Jim Dailakis is well aware that sometimes projects take much longer that expected to be completed. This time, the movie he had written and was acting in was being postponed. But on top of the setback, everyone else involved was paid handsomely. Jim hadn’t seen a penny.

As long as the movie eventually gets made, it will be OK, he thought.

Jim Dailakis

Image courtesy Jim Dailakis.

Then a couple of nights after production was put on hold, Jim had a dream in which his roommate’s father invited him into his office. With a huge smile on his face, he opened his checkbook, picked up his pen and began to write. Then, still smiling, he handed Jim a check for $3,000.

Jim had never met his roommate’s father, who had died in a car accident several years before. But when he shared the dream, his roommate smiled and said it sounded just like his dad. He had been a generous man.

Two weeks later, Jim found a letter in the mail from his producer in Australia who explained how he felt bad that Jim was the only person who worked on the film and didn’t get paid — especially considering he was responsible for getting the project started in the first place.

The letter was accompanied by a check for $3,000.

Getting the check was exciting, but Jim says he’ll never forget telling his roommate what had just happened. “Looks like my dad is continuing to be generous from the other side,” he said.

“Some would call it a coincidence,” Jim says, “and others would call it a miracle. I call it a miraculous coincidence and I was extremely grateful for the experience.”

A Gift From the Past

It was July 2012, and Maureen King, who works as an overnight nurse in Warwick, R.I., had some time to kill. Out of sheer curiosity she went to MissingMoney.com, a website that helps individuals and businesses search for unclaimed funds.

She put her name in the search field, and nothing turned up. Then she put in her husband’s name, and was flabbergasted to discover that not only did he have unclaimed funds waiting for him, the amount totaled nearly $11,000!

Maureen&TreasurerRaimondo

Treasurer Gina Raimondo (left) and Maureen King (right). Image courtesy Text100 Rochester.

It turned out that her sister-in-law, who had passed away a decade before, had named him on a life insurance policy. He never knew about her generosity, and may not have found out if his wife hadn’t searched on his behalf.

Maureen says her sister-in-law would be glad to know they finally found the money. “She was the nurturer,” King says.

She and her husband John bought a stove, and took a long-overdue vacation. “It was kind of like Christmas morning,” says Maureen. “When you don’t know what’s in the packages.”

She’s encouraging others to find out if they have unclaimed funds waiting for them. The MissingMoney.com database lists more than 65 million individual and business names across the country (nearly 40 states are participants), and $41.7 billion nationwide is just waiting to be claimed. Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo says, “It’s an amazing feeling. Every time I can put a dollar into the pocket of a Rhode Islander who needs it, that’s why I do what I do.”

Who knows? Perhaps you could experience your own money miracle!

Image: gregory_lee

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