So I thought that this week would be a pretty good week to repay a favor that was done for me about a month or so back, considering this week’s focus was on the Long-Reaching Effects of Kindness .
I was in line at Starbucks one weekend afternoon, and had just placed my order. It was about 5 pm, so it was fairly busy, but not any busier than one could expect a Saturday afternoon around 5 to be. My day was going okay, but it’s wasn’t great, as I hadn’t had a weekend to myself in a while, which is what that weekend was supposed to be, but of course things came up, and before I knew it nearly all of Saturday was gone.
As I sat there contemplating my lost Saturday afternoon video game time, I realized the line hadn’t moved in quite some time. I sat patiently at first, but quickly became annoyed that no one was going anywhere. Finally the line moved, and the next thing I knew, every single car ahead of me was driving right up to the window, getting their items, and simply driving off. Not a single one of them was paying.
I figured the barista’s perpetual caffeine high had finally caused him to lose it and decide to share the wealth for free.
No such luck. The reason the line had not moved at all and then suddenly flowed like water was because the guy at the window when I pulled up had paid for every single car behind him.
I felt pretty silly for being annoyed at the slow line, to say the least. In fact, I felt fairly embarrassed.
I had seen the movie Pay it Forward before and was familiar with the concept, which is exactly what this was, but I had never experienced it first-hand. I gotta say, it was a pretty cool feeling knowing that a stranger had paid for my drink simply because he wanted to do something nice and spread a little happiness.
So yesterday I decided to do the same thing.
I had made my decision Friday evening, shortly before I went to bed. The next morning, I woke up in a fantastic mood simply from the expectation of my upcoming good deed. I showered, dressed, and then hopped in the truck and was on my way.
There were 3 cars behind me when I got up to the window, and when I told the barista what I wanted to do, he was basically flabbergasted. I had to tell him three times that I wanted to pay for not only mine, but the 3 cars after me as well. Finally he gave a shrug and told me the total as I handed him my card. I got my drink and a blueberry scone, and as I drove away I felt relaxed and elated at the same time.
I spent the entire day in that odd little state of euphoria, thinking about the rippling effects of what I had done.
Perhaps the woman in Car #1 had just had a fight with her husband. After my deed, she may have been happy enough to drive home, understand his side and make up. Maybe the guy in Car #2 had been suffering from a bad case of writers block, as he got his Saturday coffee on his way to the bookstore to sit down and write. So inspired by this rare event was he that his hand was barely able to keep pace with the thoughts he wanted to compose.
Possibly, the person in the third car was simply depressed, feeling like they’ve been stuck in a never-ending rut for ages. Because of a free coffee from a stranger, this person became happy enough to make one little change, and begin the process of climbing out of that rut.
I’ll never know how those people were influenced, or how they influenced those they dealt with that day. I do know that if they were only a quarter as happy as I was, it was well worth it.