On paying it forward, again.

In October, someone in line in front of me at the Starbucks drive-thru paid for my coffee. They simply asked that I pay it forward when I have the chance.

Of course, my immediate thought – besides that of gratitude at this stranger who’d done a simple, nice thing for me – was “when can I do something nice like this for something else?” I’ve looked, kind of, for opportunities to do acts of kindness for people ever since. Not that I wasn’t a nice person before, who did nice things for people whether they’d done something for me or not. But after that morning, I knew I needed to do just what the person asked of me, pay it forward. I figured an opportunity like what had happened to me would present itself, and like that stranger had done for me, I could do something kind and anonymously for someone, and then maybe they’d pay it forward as well.

So this morning, on my way into work, I decided to get myself a cup of coffee. Tuesdays are my longest day all week, and it helps to have a little caffeine to kick-start the day. Plus, it’s a reward for getting out of my amazing bed – which only seems to reach maximum comfort level the second that alarm goes off. This morning, I pulled into the Starbucks where that person made my day a little better with their random act of kindness.

As I sat in line waiting to order, I thought, if someone pulls up behind me, I’m going to pay for their drink. Sure enough, as I approached the window to pay, someone pulled up behind me. I actually got nervous! Well, maybe nervous isn’t the word, but I definitely felt a rush of adrenaline, knowing that I was about to do something nice for them, and even though they’d never know who I was or why I paid for their hot chocolate at Starbucks on a random Tuesday morning, I was excited that I’d maybe make their day just a little bit nicer. I pulled up to pay, asked the barista to run my card for the order for the car behind me and said, “Just tell her Merry Christmas.”

Yes, it was just something little. Yes, I didn’t branch out and do something nice for someone in a different place than where it had been done for me. But maybe, just maybe, I made someone’s day. Maybe that person will talk about it later and say “So this morning, someone paid for my hot chocolate at Starbucks.”

Hopefully, they’ll pass it on. Maybe they in turn bought the drink for the car behind them, and so on. My mom said she saw on TV once where that happened for like 20 cars in a row. Whatever their reaction was, I hope it at least made them smile, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll find a way to pay it forward, too.

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