Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Did You Ever Pay It Forward?

Has this ever happened to you?  On more than one occasion I have pulled up to the drive-through window at Starbucks and the cashier said "No charge!  The person in front of you is paying it forward."  

Starbucks, paying it forward, motivation

What a nice way to start the day and I wish I could run after them to thank them.  But they are long gone.  I always watch my rear view mirror to see if  someone I deem worthy of that gesture is behind me. Once in a while I do and I feel like a naughty school girl who just got away with something.  I trust my generosity is appreciated although that is not why I do it.  If you are looking for a thank-you when you give something from your heart, you should not be giving it.  Giving in secret is much more rewarding.

This morning I was in the line-up and when I got to the window I glanced behind me.  An attractive middle aged woman was driving a
shiny sports car with the top down.  I could see her gold jewelry glistening in the sunshine.  I imagined she had more money than she knew what to do with but then the thought hit me - "Pay it forward."
mercedes, paying it forward, starbucks

I argued with myself for 15 seconds and then said "Please put the red convertible's order on my tab." I cringed when I said it because times have been tight and I shouldn't be buying a special coffee for myself, let alone a stranger.

I paid the server and proceeded to the parking lot.  I had a quick errand to run and when I got back to my car, the red convertible was parked next to mine.

One small gesture can change someone's life

"Hi" the lady said.  Gosh she was gorgeous and looked like she was reeking money through her pores.

"I want to thank you for the coffee this morning.  I never expected that."

"You're welcome.  I was just paying it forward."  I smiled and started to get into my car.

"Do you have a minute?"  She asked.

I nodded and she proceeded to cry.  "My husband and I may have to declare bankruptcy as a business partner of ours just swindled us out of all our holdings.  This could not have come at a worse time as we lost our son last month.  Our hearts are breaking and we aren't thinking clearly.  I blamed God and asked Him why He didn't care.  I asked Him for a sign that He still loved us and that everything would work out.  When you bought my coffee this morning, I knew that was my sign.  Thank you ever so much."

Now I was the one crying and I told her that I could relate on both counts and that God does indeed care and He would mend her broken heart.

We chatted for a few more minutes, exchanged phone numbers and set up a coffee date.

And those gestures affect you as well

I sat in my car for a few minutes, visibly shaken from emotion.  I don't know where this relationship may lead but I believe I gave her much more than a cup of coffee this morning.  I will be her friend.  I know I will be her confidant.  I will lend support and share my story with her -- she will know she is not alone.  Terrible things can happen to good people.

Next time you are in the drive-through and feel the urge to pay it forward - I hope you do.  If this has already happened to you, I would love to hear your story.

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