She walked through the park every day. The fountain was one of the only pretty things about it, so it wasn't unusual to see someone standing near it wearing a hopeful look, eyes closed, clutching a small amount of legal tender. Every time she saw someone toss a coin into that fountain, she wondered if their wish would come true.
There were better things to do with spare change, in her opinion. There were candy bars in the vending machine at work and cups of coffee to buy for the homeless guy who hung out on the corner. Why should she waste her money on a wish?
That fountain was a wish graveyard, made up of hundreds of pennies settled to the bottom on cold, unfeeling stone. The fountain didn't care what those people wanted or how badly they wanted it. And it never would.
But that wasn't the fountain's fault. Just because someone hoped their wish to come true wasn't going to make it come true, no matter how much money they tossed into the water. You weren't ever going to get that wish of being able to fly, but you could pay to go skydiving. She thought it was a much better idea to work hard to make your wishes come true.
One morning she walked through the park with a pile of coins in her hand. She had just bought a cup of coffee for the homeless guy on the corner, and was heading to work to give a presentation that she and her team had worked hard on. The water from the fountain glistened in the sun, and suddenly, she felt bad. The poor fountain was always being appealed to for help and never gave it.
She stopped and tossed a nickel onto one of the upper tiers of the fountain. Since no one else was around, she wished aloud: "I wish that our presentation goes awesome and that the boss tells us we did a great job."
It wasn't an earth-shattering wish. But it did come true.
Every time she walked past that fountain, she would look for her wish and smile inside.
At least one of those coins represented a hope that had been realized.