Lucky Penny

HIMYM episode 2x15 (37)

Lucky penny - racing to the flight
First aired:
February 12, 2007
Pamela Fryman
Jamie Rhonheimer
Barney's Blog

Images (5)

Ted recounts events leading up to being too late for a flight: Barney runs the Marathon in Marshall's stead, Lily and Robin camp outside a shop for a sale.


Ted and Robin are running through the airport, trying to catch a plane to Chicago, where Ted has an interview with a large architecture firm for the job of running the New York branch of the company. As they reach their gate, the attendant tells them that she cannot let them on the flight. They explain that Ted had to attend a court date that morning for jumping a subway turnstile, and she asks them to wait while she talks with the flight. While they wait, Robin suggests that their lateness was in fact Barney's fault.

The show then flashbacks a few months to when Marshall had just broken his toe. He is especially disappointed, as he had been training hard in order to run the New York City Marathon. Barney complains about his moaning, and states that running a marathon is easy, even without training. Marshall then bets Barney he cannot complete the marathon, and Barney — who has a gambling addiction — accepts the wager.

The next day, to the group's surprise, Barney completes the marathon quite easily, and shows no signs of being tired. Marshall pays up on the bet, and tells Barney that marathon runners get to ride the subway free that day. Barney decides to ride the subway and show off the medal he was given for finishing the marathon.

Later, Ted receives a call from Barney, who is stuck on the subway, after finding he is suddenly unable to move his legs. Ted agrees to come and get him at the 86th Street station, but in his rush, does not pay to use the subway, and so jumps the turnstile, explaining his court date in the present, but is tackled by a cop before he can help Barney, leaving him trapped on the train.

The story then returns to the present, where Ted agrees the whole situation is Barney's fault. The attendant then tells them that their flight has already left, but they maybe able to catch another flight leaving shortly. While making their way to the other gate, Ted remembers why Barney ran the marathon in the first place and realises that its actually Robin to blame for the lateness....

The story flashes back again, to April 2006, where Marshall decides to run the marathon to get into shape, with help from Lily and a guide book. One piece of advice suggests that the runner should apply petroleum jelly to areas affected by chafing, including the nipples. While following this advice, Robin walks in on Marshall, surprising him so much he falls, breaking his toe.

In the present, Ted summarizes that if Marshall hadn't broken his toe, Barney would not have run, and not been stuck on the subway, so Ted would not have had to go to court, and they would not have been late. Robin tells Ted that she isn't to blame, and the reason why she was at the apartment that morning was because of Lily...

In another flashback, Robin and Ted spot a line of people camping outside a wedding dress store for a big sale. When they tell Lily, she decides to go as well, and Robin agrees to camp out with her for the night. They cannot get any sleep because of a car alarm, so Robin decides to sleep at The Apartment that day, where she finds Marshall, causing him to break his toe.

Meanwhile, Ted and Robin reach the second flight in time, and ask if there are any seats. While the attendant searches, Ted realizes it wasn't Lily's fault.

A few months earlier, while riding the subway Ted found a penny from 1939. Believing it to be valuable, Ted sold it to a collector, but only got $1.50. He and Robin decide to spend the money on hot dogs from the other side of town, which is where they saw the line for the dress store.

Knowing the story doesn't go back any further (since there's no point in blaming the person who lost the penny in the first place), Ted concludes it was his own fault for missing the first flight, Ted is then told there are no seats on the second flight, meaning that he has to miss the interview. Ted is upset, but Robin comforts him and tells him that if the firm wants him they'll reschedule the interview...

Future Ted reveals that the firm didn't reschedule and someone else got the job, however he now knows that it was his destiny not to get it after all. Three months later, the guy who got the job was made to relocate to Chicago and Future Ted knows that if he hadn't found the penny and bought the hot dogs, if Lily hadn't forced Robin to stay awake all night, if Robin hadn't made Marshall trip over and break his toe, and if Barney hadn't run the marathon, then he might have had to leave New York. Therefore, Ted may have never met his wife if he got the job.

In the closing scene, it is dark and Barney is still stuck on the subway with three thugs, forgotten by Ted. One toys with Barney's medal and he gives it up without a word, and the thugs leave.


  • The flashforward to Ted's wedding marks the first appearance of the Mother, whose head is obscured by a bridal veil.
  • Barney tracksuits up.
  • The penny that causes Ted to miss his flight is the one he found and told Robin about in The Scorpion and the Toad​. Also, in the flashback to Ted and Robin buying hot dogs with the penny, they are wearing the same clothes as they did in that episode.
    • However, in The Scorpion and the Toad, Lily and Marshall are still broken up (getting back together three months later in Swarley and getting engaged again in Atlantic City​), while the flashbacks show her and Marshall as an engaged couple around the time Ted found the penny.
    • It is possible that Ted didn't get the penny checked for some time
  • Barney boasts about his wealth, established in many episodes such as Sweet Taste of Liberty​ and World's Greatest Couple​.
  • Marshall mentions Barney's gambling addiction, which is explored in Atlantic City and Monday Night Football.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • In the flashback to Ted and Marshall's trip to Paris to visit Lily in Say Cheese​, Marshall is seen reading the "How to Win a Marathon" book on the flight.
  • Robin is offered her own dream job in Chicago in Doppelgangers​.
  • Marshall mentions his long-distance running ability in Subway Wars​.
  • The car alarm that keeps Lily, Robin, and the rest of the camped-out brides-to-be up all night is heard again, through people imitating it, in Canning Randy​ and Knight Vision.
  • Ted later takes a job at an architecture firm in Chicago, as Lily discovers in Something New​, to work for Hammond Druthers again, who begged him to take the job, as revealed in Platonish. It is not mentioned whether or not it is the same firm he is scheduled to interview with here.
  • Ted references his coin-collecting hobby in The Lighthouse​, and the Mother is revealed to have a coin collection too in How Your Mother Met Me.
  • As revealed in Unpause, Ted names his future daughter Penny, and may have done so in reference to the titular coin of this episode. Also his son bears the name Luke, which could have been derived from Lucky.
  • Ted and the Mother's wedding is later seen in Last Forever - Part Two.


  • Robin and Ted run to catch their flight to Chicago.

Memorable Quotes

Lily: We'll all have a wedding dress camp-out! It'll be fun!
Barney: I can’t go, I have this thing.
Lily: What thing?
Barney: A penis.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • The penny that sets off the chain of events resulting in Ted missing his flight is the one he found and told Robin about in The Scorpion and the Toad​, where they are wearing the same clothes as they do in the flashback to them discussing it here. However, in that episode, Lily and Marshall are still broken up (getting back together three months later in Swarley and getting engaged again in Atlantic City​), while the flashbacks show her and Marshall as an engaged couple (e.g., Marshall begins training for the marathon in April and presumably throughout the summer that Lily is away in San Francisco.).
  • When Marshall is tracking Barney's race he is wearing white socks, but when they go check on Barney and then return to the apartment that same day, sitting in the couch, you can see that he's wearing black socks. Then a little time later, he's wearing white socks again.
  • In the opening scene, a Swissair plane is shown in the shot of the airport. Swissair had ceased operations in 2002.
  • In the opening scene, three planes are shown in Delta's "Widget" Livery, which was discontinued from use in 1997.
  • In a later scene, an AirCal plane is shown through a window. AirCal ceased operations in 1987.

Allusions and Outside References

  • The car that keeps Robin, and Lily awake is a Pontiac G6.
  • The wedding dress store for whose sale Lily and Robin camp out has dresses from Badgley Mischka, Melissa Sweet, and Vera Wang.
  • When Marshall is in front of the mirror trying to motivate himself, he utters the phrase "You are Marshall!" repeatedly. This is a reference to the slogan of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and the chant (which was stolen from Penn State) in the film We Are Marshall.
  • When Ted and Marshall are talking about Barney's bets, they mention how Barney thought that the Australian band Men At Work sang "Hungry Like The Wolf", when it was actually sung by Duran Duran.
  • The second flight company Ted and Robin try is called "Flights 'R' Us", as a reference to Toys "R" Us. Furthermore, Robin asks if the R is the other way around like in the latter's logo.


Other Notes

  • If we take inflation into account, the penny is only worth about ten times its original value, not 150 as Ted said (this means that the meal he and Robin bought would have costed about $0.10 in 1939).[1]



  • Staci Krause of IGN gave the episode 8.8 out of 10. [2]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 9.5 stars out of 10. "Another great example of story-telling in reverse. ... Barney has a bridge and tunnel girl."


  1. US Inflation Calculator - the cumulative rate of inflation from 1939 to 2007 is of 1391.7%

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