I can’t see a penny on the ground without stooping to pick it up, reciting as I do so: “Find a penny, pick it up, then all day you’ll have good luck. Find a penny, let it lay, bad luck sure to come your way…”

Stopping for a penny doesn’t mean I’m cheap—just frugal. Ingrained deep within me is the adage to “Mind the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Mother taught me that by example.

“If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it” is another good one, and that’s pretty much how I’ve lived my life. COD: Cash on Demand.

All of which leads up to the absolutely mind-boggling information I heard on Good Morning America a little while back. Apparently, not everyone’s mother was as financially astute as mine.

According to an article in USA Today (and double-checked in disbelief with back-up articles found online), travelers at US airports left a whopping $674,841.06 in “spare change” behind when they went through security checkpoints last year. And that figure was up about $37,000 from the previous year!

Holy Moly! I may be in a rush to get going and not hold up the line once I’ve cleared the scanning process, but I don’t believe I’ve EVER left “money on the table,” so to speak.

Nevertheless, next time I’ve an opportunity to fly somewhere, you can bet your boots I’ll be eagle-eyed when collecting my belongings, including every silver, nickel, or red copper cent!