A couple of weeks ago I awoke to an email from a colleague and friend. He had sent me a $10 Starbucks gift certificate. Totally out of the blue and for no reason other than to be kind and make my day.
I’m always trying to find ways to be more thoughtful and this simple, yet powerful act of kindness stuck with me.
I knew I had to pay it forward.
On Christmas Eve, I stopped into Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to work to pick up an iced coffee.
While in line, I overheard the man behind me on the phone. I only heard bits and pieces of his conversation (what can I say? I’m nosy) but he sounded stressed out and I caught phrases like “I’ve been up all night” and “going to go to sleep for a few hours.”
Immediately, I knew that THIS was the person I needed to pay it forward to.
When it was my turn to order, I told the cashier, “I’d also like to pay for whatever he’s ordering” and pointed to the man behind me.
I turned around and said, “Sir, I’d like to pay for your order today. Merry Christmas.”
Totally confused, he asked, “Why would you do that?”
“It’s just a nice Christmas thing I want to do,” I replied. “You sound like you’ve had a rough night and I hope this makes your day a little better.”
(At one point, he actually tried to turn the tables on me and asked if he could pay for MY coffee. I laughed and told him, “That’s not how this works.”)
He finally relented and let me pay for his order.
The look on his face was priceless and as we waited for our orders; he chattered on and on about how he couldn’t believe what had just happened and he couldn’t stop thanking me.
His reaction left a smile on my face for the remainder of the day.
After he received his food and coffee, he thanked me again.
“I’m a surgeon,” he said. “I’ve been up all night doing surgery on a child who broke her neck after falling out a window. Thank you so much for this. Merry Christmas.”
I can’t even begin to tell you how much this brief moment impacted my day (and week).
Kindness is infectious. And we all know the world can always use a little more kindness and positivity. The effects of this small and inexpensive act of kindness have inspired me to look for more opportunities to pay it forward.
I’ll likely never see the man from Dunkin’ Donuts again, but I hope that in a very small way, I impacted his day and made his week a little brighter. I know the experience certainly did that for me.
Have you ever paid it forward or been the recipient of a random act of kindess? I’d love to hear your stories! Please share them in the comments.
*Note: I didn’t intend to share this story on my blog. I certainly didn’t set out to do this act of kindness to get any type of credit or praise. I simply wanted to do it, but the moment struck me as so powerful that I felt compelled to share the story. If anything, I hope my experience will inspire and encourage you to pay it forward and complete your own random act of kindness to end 2013 or kick off 2014 on a positive note.
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