There are so many urban legends about Las Vegas that you just don’t know what to believe anymore. From friends, passengers and strangers, I’ve heard stories about the legendary city that have made me wonder. Is Las Vegas really all they say it is? I’ve been there many times but never spent more than one day in the legendary, “fabulous” city in the desert.
Why is it that there are so many crazy stories about the place? And what about that saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? What exactly does it mean? Well, I finally had a chance to find out on a recent one-day layover in the world’s most exciting destination.
What started out as a rest stop turned into something much more interesting. Whenever I’m in Las Vegas, I try to make a point to see a show, go for a hike on a nearby trail or just walk from the north end of “The Strip” to the south end. On this particular stop, four of us decided to walk the length of the Strip, which is about 7 kilometers, and take a taxi back to my hotel on the north side.
One of our group, Stella, was carrying two 50-dollar bills her boyfriend had given her in New York. He asked if she would place two bets on roulette, putting $50 on red for the first spin and $50 on black for the second. He would split any winnings with her. Stella had never gambled, but the rest of us agreed to help her place the bets since we knew how roulette worked. It’s a pretty simple process.
She carefully folded the two bills and stashed them in her wallet. When we neared the casino where she wanted to play, Bellagio, Stella pulled out her wallet and paid a kiosk attendant for four bottles of ice-cold water. The man and his wife who ran the kiosk sold nothing but cold water and looked like they had seen better times.
The purchase was Stella’s treat for all of us thirsty walkers. It was a warm summer night in Las Vegas and our throats were as dry as the desert sand.
When we arrived inside the Bellagio casino area, we tossed the empty water bottles and began searching for the roulette tables. One of the extremely polite security guards told us where to go and even chatted with us a bit. The hotel workers in Vegas are quite friendly and even if they have to be for their jobs, the attitude seems genuine. This particular fellow was happy to help four out-of-town ladies and gave us a few pointers on staying safe when we told him we were “hiking” the Strip.
Eventually, we located the roulette wheel where Stella intended to place her bets. While we were scoping out the action and edging our way up to the betting area, we heard a high-pitched voice yelling, “Ladies! Ladies! Ladies!”
We turned around, and to our surprise saw the man who had sold us the water. He was walking toward us at a brisk pace, accompanied by the security guard. “I’m so glad I found you,” the kiosk man said, with a look of relief on his face. “I told this security guard that I was looking for four ladies. He brought me here.
“Why?” Stella said.
“Because you dropped this when you paid for your water,” he replied.
The disheveled man opened his hand to reveal two, carefully-folded fifty-dollar bills. They had fallen from Stella’s wallet during the purchase.
The man gave Stella the money and started to walk away, but she stopped him. “Listen, I truly appreciate your honesty and want you to have this.” She gave him one of the bills. He refused several times before Stella’s insistence overcame his shyness. With a bow and a heartfelt, “Thank you. Thank you so much,” the man shuffled away.
The other three of us pitched in to cover Stella’s deficit. After all, she had bought the waters for us! We placed the bets, and it must have been our lucky night in Las Vegas. Stella’s boyfriend’s money won $200 additional dollars.
It just goes to show you that Las Vegas can be a lucky town, and you can find honest, noble people in the most unlikely places.