Here's a story from the New Jersey Star-Ledger about a diner owner who distributes silver dollars to selected visitors, but their luck doesn't stop there.
Amid the clink of glass and the clatter of plates, a faint jingle rises as Peterpank Diner owner Alex Panko shows the silver dollars, the coin of his realm, he bestows on a select few patrons.
The Morgan silver dollars, named for designer George T. Morgan, pass from Panko’s hand to the palms of those he has a special feeling about — a small clientele at his Sayreville diner who are in dire straits or perhaps headed straight to the top.
Call it a side order of luck: Panko’s coins have lined the finely tailored pockets of Gov. Chris Christie and the utilitarian uniforms of a U.S. soldier. Close friends have carried them, as has former congressional candidate Anna Little, who lost her race but nonetheless considers herself more fortunate for having the silver buck in her possession.
Now Panko, who says he doesn’t distribute coins along party lines, is readying himself for this election season. He doesn’t expect a big crowd of candidates at the Peterpank, but he’s prepared to vet them before he dishes out a lucky token.
"I can’t just hand it to anybody because chances are they’ll win," Panko said. "I’ll pull them aside, talk to them, and if they sound like they’re doing the right thing, working for the people, then I’ll slip them a coin."
"I’ve probably given out about 10 or 12 in my life," he said of the dollars he otherwise keeps in a safe-deposit box at his bank. "I do it as a good luck gesture for folks headed into danger or rough times."
The most notable hand-off occurred on Nov. 3, 2009.
Christie, the Republican candidate hoping to win the governor’s seat, stopped by the 54-year-old diner for some last-minute campaigning on Election Day. He said Panko called him into the kitchen and pulled a Morgan from his pocket.
"He tells me the story about his lucky coins and he says to me, ‘Keep it with you today and you’re gonna win, you’re gonna be governor,’ " Christie recalled.
Whatever role the coin played, Christie won the election. At his inaugural ball two months later, Old Bridge Councilwoman Mary Sohor — who works at the diner and in part credits her coin for her political success — shouted above the cheering crowd.
"Congratulations from Alex," she told the newly minted governor.
Christie stopped, locked eyes with Sohor and pulled the coin from his pocket.
"We couldn’t believe it," Sohor said. "He had kept it on him."
If they only knew — the silver dollar never leaves his left pocket.
"I’ve never been superstitious in my life," Christie said. "I’ve never been one of these guys who worries about walking under ladders, broken mirrors or black cats. But I have carried Alex’s coin with me since Election Day."
Gov. Christie with his lucky dollar
To read the complete article, see:
Sayreville diner owner's lucky coins keep soldiers safe, politicians prosperous
Wayne Homren, Editor
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