Early in my career, sometime around 1977, I became a sales manager at the dealership I started at in Dallas. I was young for the job, but had worked extremely hard, and made a lot of friends. Upper management seemed to really trust me.
When I knew they really trusted me was when they gave me a set of keys to the dealership. Managers had a schedule of closing certain nights. The General Manager only closed a couple of nights each week, and he scheduled me to be there the same nights he worked. It made for a long day for sure, I got there at 8 AM, and we closed at 9 PM and that was if we didn’t have any customers in the building. At 20, 13 hour days didn’t seem so bad.
As time went on, I realized why the GM wanted me there with him. Typically, around 7 PM or maybe just a tad later, he’d tell me he was leaving and to “hold the fort down.” That always made me stand a little taller, shoulders back…no matter what happened, I was in charge and felt an enormous responsibility.
When 9 PM rolled around, I checked and double-checked every door, every entrance gate, turned off the appropriate lights, set the alarm system and was the last one to leave. Usually, a salesperson would offer to pull my car outside the main entrance and bring me the car keys back. Just one of the perks of being the boss, even at the tender age of 20.
We dealt in a surprising amount of green cash those days, credit cards just weren’t prevalent. If it was your night as MOD (manager on duty) and people brought cash, it was your job to write a receipt from the triplicate copy receipt book, take the cash with you, and turn it in the following morning. Certainly, it wasn’t the best system, but that’s how they’d always done it.
One night, somebody gave us $3000 in cash as a down payment. I wrote the receipt, wrapped the second copy around the money with a rubber band, and stuffed it all in an envelope, that I put in my inside suit coat pocket. I left shortly after 9 PM and I believe it was a Thursday night.
My best friend at the time was Mike. He was working at a local furniture moving company as a summer job while in college. We planned to go to a place called Keller’s Hamburgers on Samuell Boulevard for our favorite treat, a #5 (burger with special sauce) some tater tots, and a Miller light. We parked my car and went in Mike’s black Plymouth Duster.
The carhop brought our food and beers and we talked about girls, ate our food, drank our beer(s) and just had a good time as we both unwound from our days. At some point, I took my jacket off and laid it carefully in the back seat.
I reported to work the following day around 8 AM, but it wasn’t until 10 AM or so, a lady from the business office came to me and asked for the $3000 she had seen in the receipt book. I reached into my inside pocket and it was not there. I checked the other one, it was not there either. My routine was always the same when I got home at night; empty my pockets on the dresser, the following morning, put everything back. I was a creature of habit and still do the same thing today.
I told the lady I must have left the envelope on my dresser, and that I’d run home during lunch and get it. I did just that, except the money was not there. I tore everything up, no money. I looked through my clothes from the day before, my car, nothing. This was when the panic set in.
It hit me the money might be in Mike’s car, so I drove to his work and looked in his car, which was locked. I couldn’t see any envelope, so returned to work and told my GM what was going on, and that I was good for the money. $3000 at that time was one and a half times more than I made and is the equivalent to over $10,900 in 2018 dollars. I was worried sick.
I knew Mike typically got back to the moving place around 6 PM and I was waiting for him when he came out. We looked everywhere in his car, no money was to be found. All hope was lost.
On day two of the missing money, my GM came to me, and this is where it gets weird. He told me he knew a psychic and wanted me to talk to him about the money. I at first said politely “no thanks, I don’t believe in them” and he explained he had known this man for 30 years. The psychic’s name was George. He had an elite group of customers he advised. Besides my GM, one of his best customers was the legendary John Wayne. The two of them met regularly on The Duke’s boat for readings.
My GM, who in a strange twist of fate later became my father-in-law, got George on the phone and told him what was going on with the missing money. Then he handed me the phone.
I introduced myself and we exchanged niceties for a minute and then George said: “Jerry, you are going to find the money, so take a deep breath.” Oddly enough, I found comfort in his words. He went on to say; “I see the money, it is in a black car, under the front passenger seat”. Then he asked if I drove a black car. I explained I did not, mine was a white Ford Elite with red interior.
Then Mike’s car hit me. I told him I was in a friend’s black car the night the money went missing. Without hesitation, he said, “that’s where it is”. To that I told him I been all through the car the day before, and that the money was not there. He simply said “look again” and our conversation was over.
Once again, I was waiting for Mike when he returned from his furniture runs. This time I had a flashlight with me and got on the ground looking under the passenger seat. There was an overlap in the carpeting of the black Duster and I spotted a very small corner of an envelope, the rest had slid toward the back of the car. I pulled it out, and all $3000 was there.
I shook for a good five minutes, not sure if it was the relief of finding the money, or the fact that a psychic led me to it. I’ve always believed in a higher power, but not in the powers of a seer. That was almost 40 years ago, and to this day, I don’t know if it was good luck, a higher power, or the ability of a clairvoyant man named George who was 2000 miles away. I am not sure I’ll ever know which it was.
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