Photo by Andre Taissin

Who doesn't love getting an unexpected check in the mail?

In 1999 when I bought my house in Miami, I had a beautiful mature red grapefruit tree in the backyard. What a treat to be able to go outside and pick a grapefruit for breakfast!

But that year there were some cases of citrus canker being observed in Miami, and the local government panicked. If citrus canker succeeded in spreading, it could wipe out Florida's massive citrus industry. So they decided the only thing to be done was to destroy all citrus trees in the county, and I came home one day to find that a crew had entered my backyard, cut down the tree, and removed all trace of it.
Later, scientific studies came out that suggested the slash-and-burn response was not warranted, and that officials with Miami-Dade County knew that when they destroyed the trees. Subsequently, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of homeowners who had lost trees.
I've casually followed the lawsuit as it slowly worked its way through the counts, and even noted that the class won the suit. But as it was so long ago, I had basically forgotten about it.
Well, forgotten about it until last week, when I received a check with my share of the settlement: $781. I can't believe that 23 years after the fact, I finally am being told "sorry." That check will buy me a lot of grapefruits!
So the moral is to always file a forwarding address form when you move, because you never know when something good might appear!