When Life Gives You Lemons (or $600 in extra meal plan money)

Originally published on my personal blog on May 16, 2013

This past year was my third year of college and after eating virtually all my meals in the dining hall my freshman year and most dinners there my sophomore year, I had had enough. I do live on campus, though, and there is a Subway in one of the classroom buildings in which I have several classes, so I decided to sign up for a meal plan that was exclusively dining dollars. These credits spend like cash at any of the restaurants and food courts on campus. I found out that I could get a 400 dining dollar plan for $350. I called my parents and they agreed it was a good idea, so I signed up.

I bought Subway for lunch a couple times a week and occasionally bought food from other venders. Toward the end of the school year, I started noticing that the receipts I received when I used my dining dollars showed I had quite a bit of money on my card, even more than the $400 I had originally signed up for. Assuming it was an error, I continued to ignore the ridiculously high numbers until about two weeks before school ended when I finally made my way into the ID card services office to find out what the deal was.

To my surprise, it turned out that the $600+ credit still on my account was not an error. I had thought I was signing up for $400 for the year, but actually the plan was $400 per semester. Could I cancel the credit from the spring semester and just use up the leftover from the fall? Nope! I left the office pretty upset about the money I was wasting because of my mistake.

Soon after, I had an idea. While most of the venders who accept dining dollars are on campus, Papa John’s pizza also accepts the credit. So, the Tuesday of finals week, just days before my huge credit was to expire, I went onto the Papa John’s website and ordered 33 extra large pizzas. I was called shortly after by an overwhelmed pizza maker to inform me that my order would take longer than the promised fifteen minutes. I assured him that was just fine.

I showed up at the restaurant about an hour later to pick up my pizzas. When they were all loaded up, my trunk was pretty full…

…and so was my back seat!

About fifteen minutes later, while following my phone GPS, I found myself in an area of town I had not frequented. I pulled into the parking lot of the soup kitchen and unlocked the car doors and trunk to allow the pizzas to be carried into the kitchen. Several hundred hungry people, many of them homeless, ate Papa John’s the next day for lunch. Extra dining dollars well spent!

Originally published at .

K-8 Teacher, Jewish Educator, Dog Mom, CrossFitter

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