Friday, November 15, 2013
Pay It Forward Friday
One day, not long after the Sandy Hook and Aurora tragedies, I felt an overwhelming need to do something, anything, to make someone's day better. I had been hearing about people paying for hot drinks at Starbucks that would later be given to the homeless who would come in and ask for one. Our homeless population doesn't frequent the coffee shop I go to, so I decided to buy the person in line behind me the drink of their choice. I was terrified the first time I did it, agonizing over whether people would think me weird, or that I was stalking them. What if they rejected my gift? I walked into the coffee shop, heart fluttering. No one was behind me and I was a bit relieved, and a bit disappointed. I ordered, then someone else came in. I turned around and nonchalantly said "What are you having?". He told me and I had his drink added to my bill. He of course protested, then wanted to know why I did that. I got a little teary-eyed and explained it had been a terrible week and wanted to do something nice for someone. He didn't quite get it and offered to buy me a coffee the next time. I declined and suggested he could buy a coffee for someone he didn't know. I walked away that morning feeling good and every Friday since, I buy the person in line behind me the drink of their choice. The people of the coffee shop get a kick out of it and the owner loves to explain why I'm doing it. At some level, though, I feel a bit guilty. I live in a very affluent county (although obviously not everyone is affluent) and most people can afford the coffee. Could those dollars be spent elsewhere to help someone who really needs the help? What am I accomplishing? It's not really about the money, though. It's about doing something nice (random acts of kindness, as the coffee shop owner says) and spreading positive energy. This world desperately needs more positive energy.