Man Finds Way to Get His Money Back

December 2, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. ingenious [in-JEEN-yuh s] (adj.) – characterized by new and original ideas
Example: The teacher was impressed with the students’ ingenious ideas for the new project.

2. catch one’s attention [kach wuhns uh-TEN-shuh n] (idiom) – to get a person’s interest or to be noticed by somebody
Example: The red letters written on the paper can easily catch people’s attention.

3. retiree [ri-tahy-REE, -TAHYUH R-ee] (noun) – a person who has permanently stopped working because of old age
Example: The retiree has stopped working last month.

4. take time off [teyk tahym awf ] (idiom) – to have a break from something, especially from work
Example: His father had to take time off from work because of illness.

5. mount up [mount uhp] (phrasal verb) – to accumulate or gather as time goes by
Example: The little money that I save every week has mounted up to a thousand dollars.


Read the text below.
A man found an ingenious way of getting back the dollars he spent—writing his name, address, and a note on the back of one-dollar bills.

The note says “Please return this bill to me. I am very poor.” and is written in bright red to easily catch people’s attention. Gary, a 60-year-old legally blind retiree from Phoenix, Arizona, was the one who wrote the note in one-dollar bills.

In 2003, Gary became ill and was forced to take time off from work. It was during this time that he thought of his “money-back” idea. He began to pay at the market, convenience stores, and gas stations using dollars with his name, address, and message on it.

He said that he never expected people to send his dollars back. But the more they did so, the more encouraged he became to send out more dollars with his note. According to Gary, the money comes from as far as the Netherlands, Australia, and Alaska and mounts up to as much as thousands of dollars over the years.

Gary keeps a record of the money that gets back to him. He says he normally receives $2 a day and sometimes even gets a bonus from anonymous people. At one point, he was able to gather $60 in one month and $94 in another month. However, Gary clarifies that getting his dollars back definitely doesn’t make him any richer but it sure helps him pay the bills.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that Gary’s idea of getting his money back is ethical? Why or why not?
·         If you receive one of Gary’s dollars, would you send it back to him? Why is that so?

Discussion B

·         How can a person ensure financial stability? Explain.
·         What is the best way to help people who are experiencing financial difficulties? Tell your tutor about it.


December 2, 2013