She saw this perplexed look on my face, and ... opened her purse and said: “May I give you some money?

Pam Hill

The year was 1968. Pam Hill was headed to Paris on the first leg of a year’s adventure to find out if her love of French literature was all that she thought it to be. She had booked a cheap flight out of Oakland. But the plane was unexpectedly delayed for more than just a few hours. Suddenly her plans were changed.

I sat next to a wonderful girl on the plane who was from Berkeley. We got to know each other over the hours. So when we arrived we got off the plane together and went into our little cubicles one after another and the last I saw from her was when she came out of her cubicle and we waved goodbye to each other.

I was planning to find a comfortable chair in Heathrow and spend the night there because it was late at night and the friends I was staying with – I had no way reach them to tell them that I was there. And didn’t want to go to their house in the dark because I’d never been to London before, had no idea where they were so I thought – I’ll start off in the morning light. 

So I was getting comfortable in a chair in the waiting room and about 20 minutes later this girl came back with her mother and father and brother and said: “Come home with us!”

Her father was a professor and he was spending the year in London and she had said something to her parents about this person she had met. So total strangers invited me to come home with them, stay there as long as I wanted. We got to their house, which was somewhere in downtown London. They gave us dinner and a bed. It was just wonderful. I was so tired after the two days waiting in the airport and on the plane.

So the next day when the sun finally came up the first thing I wanted to do was to go out and change money to have some pounds so I could get around and I could do something for them. So off I went to find a bank and I did.

I found a great big Bank of England office and walked in, got up to a teller and I had heard something before about a currency freeze but I didn’t have much idea of what that meant. So I reached in my purse and got out American Express Travelers’ Checks and said to the woman, “I’d like to exchange Travelers’ Checks for British pounds.”

She looked at me and the thought that thoughty my head was – Well, I know they are American Express and this is the Bank of England but anybody takes Travelers’ Checks.

So she said, “But there’s a currency freeze.”

And I said – “Well, can’t I cash these?”

And she said, “No, That’s what that means. There is no foreign exchange. You can’t exchange dollars for pounds.”

And I just stood there a minute looking at her not because I was trying to figure this out though I didn’t have any money because it seemed to me I had money. But I didn’t quite understand—So when could I get money? 

She saw this perplexed look on my face, and bent down, and picked up her purse, opened her purse and said: “May I give you some money?”

And I was so touched – a total stranger. This woman who’s working as a bank teller giving me her own money. Because here I was this rather dumb American girl standing there needing money. And I explained – no, no. She certainly didn’t have to do that. I could wait until we could exchange money again.

But I was so touched by, first the American family, taking me into their house, not knowing me at all. But the second – a total stranger. Here I was a sort of customer of the bank and she’s offering me her own money.

I just thought, “People really are wonderful.” 

The faith I had in people which allowed me go on and do ... . I had no idea really what I was doing or where I was going.  But I thought – people really are very, very nice.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

We would love to have you join us.


This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

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