By Andrea Holbrook
---- — A 600-pound surprise rolled into BankGloucester on a red wagon Thursday night.
Brothers Jerramy, 3 1/2, and Brayden Melanson, 5, have been helping their parents Jeff and Melissa save loose coins for about four years to pay for a family vacation.
On Thursday night, just as bank President Patrick Thorpe was walking out the door, the Melanson family — parents, sons, and uncle Bobby Place — wheeled in the families’ coin collection, estimated to weigh about 600 pounds, in a red wagon equipped with yellow Monroe shocks. The family hoped they had saved about $5,000 for the trip.
Customer service representative Britney Tarantino said the Melansons had spoken to someone at the bank about bringing in the coins, but said bank personnel were not sure of exactly when they were coming or how the coins would be delivered.
Other customers have brought in as many coins, but “never all at once,” Tarantino said. “It came as a complete surprise to me.”
The children helped pour their coins into the bank’s counting machine, which separates the coins by type and puts them into bags. Tarantino said it took an hour to an hour and a half before the job was done. “We had to change the bags in the machine a couple times,” she said.
When the counting was done, the Melansons’ total was $3,376.03, shy of what they had hoped for, but enough that the elder Melansons will not have to pay a lot out of pocket for the family vacation.
Jeff Melanson said he remembered someone telling him when he was young that if he filled a gallon jug with quarters, he’d have $10,000. He and his wife had never been away, so when their eldest son was born, he said the couple decided to start to saving quarters to pay for a Hawaiian vacation.
“Saving was always a goal, but then we had our second son, we bought a house, and we found out how much our dream trip would cost, so Hawaii went on the back burner,” he said. “But lately, I was like wow, we have an enormous jar of quarters, what’s the next best thing? The kids love Disney, so we decided on a Disney cruise.”
“It was neat for kids,” he said; many days when he came home from his business, Melason Construction Co. on Old Ford Road, the boys would ask if he had any quarters that they could add to jar. “They’ve been doing that for a while.”
On Thursday, they decided to cash in, so Melanson put the wagon and coins in the back of his pickup truck, loaded the family in the cab and drove to the bank. There he unloaded the wagon, filled it with the jars of coins, topped the coins with the boys, and wheeled the wagon through the bank’s doors to be counted.
So come late spring the Melansons will travel to Florida, board a ship populated by Disney characters and cruise to Nassua in the Bahamas with a stop at Disney’s own private island, before returning home.
“It was a long time doing,” said Melanson, “but I’ll probably never do it again.”
Andrea Holbrook may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3456, or firstname.lastname@example.org.