When Peter Bilello decided to treat his granddaughter to lunch, he thought nothing about handing over $10 to pay. However, when he received his change from the note, he got the shock of his life. That’s because one of the dollar bills carried a message from his late wife.
Peter and his wife Grace enjoyed a fairytale romance. Peter first met the love of his life in 1964, during a trip to his native Italy to visit his mother. However, little did he know that Mom had another agenda.
While Peter was home, his mother was eager for him to meet a young girl she knew. In fact, she even suggested that the pair should tie the knot. However, the then 35-year-old Peter wouldn’t hear any of it. “She don’t know me, I don’t know her,” he pointed out to ABC News in 2015.
But it seems Peter should have trusted his mom right off the bat. Because, when he met the girl – 23-year-old Grace Caruso – the pair hit it off straight away. Then, just 40 days later, Peter made Grace his wife.
Later that year, in September, the young couple moved to Hartford, Connecticut. It was there that they started their family, welcoming two children and eventually four grandchildren. And over the years, Peter and Grace’s love stayed strong.
Gushing about his beloved Grace, Peter said, “She was a very good wife, very good cook, very good mother.” And what’s more, the pair were inseparable. “Wherever my wife would go, I go,” Peter proudly revealed.
So, when doctors diagnosed Grace with cancer in 2001, Peter was right by her side. He stuck with her through surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. And he was overjoyed when her medical team finally gave her the all clear. “I thought it was going to be okay,” he said.
However, just three years later, Grace’s cancer returned. Yet again she endured intensive treatment. And yet again Peter was there holding her hand. “Me and my wife were together all the time,” he revealed to ABC News. “She goes to chemo, I sit down next to her. And coming home, she lay down on the couch, she’s very sick after the chemo and [I] do all the work in the house.”
Peter was keen to show Grace just how much she meant to him. So, in 2009, he came up with a novel plan to express his dedication to her. He thought it would be nice if they each autographed a dollar bill. Then, he could keep the pair together in his wallet forever.
The symbolic gesture was supposed to show how Peter and Grace would always be together. However, just one year later, in 2010, Peter accidently spent the two bills while out shopping. Almost immediately, the loving husband resigned himself to the fact he’d never see the notes again.
With that in mind, Peter put his romantic gesture to bed and got on with his life with Grace. Moreover, in 2014 the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. However, little did they know that this milestone would be their last.
That’s because Grace sadly passed away in November 2014, just five months after their anniversary, leaving Peter heartbroken. “I was close with my wife,” he said. “Anything she said, I would take care. Doctors, hospitals. I was with my wife all the time.”
Five months after his wife’s passing, Peter was enjoying some special time with one of his grandchildren. The grandfather and his granddaughter Ashley decided to visit a branch of Subway for lunch. And that’s when a miracle occurred.
Peter had sent Ashley into the store with $10 to buy sandwiches. So, after purchasing the food, she dutifully returned the change to her grandfather. And as Peter looked down at the three dollar bills, he noticed something familiar.
There on the second bill, in his late wife’s handwriting, was a signature reading, “Grace B.” Against all the odds, Peter had been reunited with Grace’s special greenback. Needless to say, he was completely awestruck.
Describing the amazing moment, Peter revealed, “I said, ‘Oh my god, Ashley, look.’ We started to cry. We were so happy to get the dollar back. I never thought I’d get that dollar back.” Indeed, the odds against such a thing happening must have been pretty long, something that wasn’t lost on Peter. “It’s a miracle to get it back after five years,” he said. “Who knows how many million people got that dollar in their hands.”
Initially, teenager Ashley was confused. “I didn’t see it at first because I was just giving him back the change,” she explained. “Then when he showed me, at first you didn’t believe it, but you still wanted to. But then when he got home, you can look at the signature to see how they matched up.”
Of course, the first thing Peter did was share the discovery with Grace. “I told my granddaughter, we’re going to go straight to the cemetery and tell Nonna, my wife, that we got the dollar back,” he said. “I showed the dollar to my wife and said, ‘Grace, look, I got your dollar back.’”
Today, the note is tucked away somewhere safe. And now that Peter has the bill back in his possession he’s vowed never to let it out of his sight ever again. “Nobody’s gonna get that dollar anymore,” he said. “No way.”
Following his reunion with the priceless buck, Peter now believes in miracles. Furthermore, he thinks his dear wife Grace sent the note back to him. After all, only she could have known the true price of the one dollar bill.