How a Dollar Bill Left Widower, 86, in Tears

Peter Bilello was stunned when his granddaughter showed it to him
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2015 6:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – All it took was the sight of a dollar bill to make Peter Bilello cry. The story goes back 50 years to when the Italian native, now 86, visited his mother back in Italy, ABC News reports. "My mother, she knew this girl," he says. "And my mother says, 'Why don't you get married.'" Sure enough, Bilello and a 23-year-old woman named Grace tied the knot just 40 days later. They moved to Connecticut in 1964, had two kids, four grandkids, and were inseparable, Bilello says. Their bond only grew tighter when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2001: "Me and my wife were together all the time," he says. "Doctors, hospitals. I was with my wife all the time. And it made a lot of difference... for sick people to have support of the family."

Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery seemed to work, but her cancer returned three years later. For fun, Bilello had each of them sign a dollar bill in their own name—"Peter B." and "Grace B."—and he kept the bills in his wallet. The bills remained there until he went shopping five years ago, and spent them by mistake: "I came home and told my wife... 'Grace, I made a big mistake today," says the Connecticut resident. "I'm never going to see [the dollars again].'" Grace died of breast cancer last year, not long after their 50th wedding anniversary, WJBF reports. Then it happened: Out for lunch a few weeks ago, Bilello and his granddaughter received the "Grace B." bill as change. "I said, 'Oh my god, Ashley, look.' We started to cry," he says. "We were so happy to get the dollar back. I never thought I'd get that dollar back."

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