Random Acts of Coffee

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”

For many, the latter part of that quotation is actually from the end of the 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory after Charlie gave back the everlasting gobstopper. (Or maybe it is just me – the person who could probably recite the movie by heart.)

This line popped into head this morning after I went to pay for my coffee and scone and found the woman ahead of me had paid for mine and her’s.

The craziness of my week at work – and at home – was destined to end with me being late for work this morning.  The last day of school for 2010 is always fraught with stress from the kids and G as they get their shit together for parties and other out-of-the-ordinary school activities. Layer on top of it, the fact our kids were going to be spending the weekend with their grandparents starting after school – and it was a crazy morning despite our planning the night before.  In the end, the usual ride I get to work from them was replaced by me rushing to drive myself into work.

I admit it. I was annoyed. I was frustrated that my inability to get to work early meant I would be at work later than I had planned.  Also, I had been looking forward to a good cup of coffee which was not being replaced by whatever Starbucks is using that morning.  Not a great way to start a Friday.

And while I was in the drive-thru line waiting for what I knew would be a mediocre cup of coffee, I was annoyed that the line today was not moving as swiftly as it usually does.  Then the person in front of me and the employee were talking up a storm.  “Come on, people! I’m late. I need my coffee.” was my frustration.

When it got to be my turn (finally), I was polite but not overly chatty. I mean, I’m in a hurry, damnit!

“The woman in front of you paid for your coffee this morning, so you are all set.”

It’s funny how some things can stop you in your tracks when you think you are on the path to a crappy day. That the simple act of kindness can sort of slap you along side the head.  A random person had no idea what kind of day I was having. She probably figured that she would be nice – tis the season and all of that.  Funny how little things sometimes have a greater impact than what one might think.  Spending $5 to brighten a stranger’s day.

So, I paid it forward – and bought the coffee of the person behind me too. Maybe they need that same small event to cause them pause.Either way, I felt like when the universe gives you something, you should give it back.

Plus, sometimes the little things DO mean a lot more than you’d think.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Maggie says:

    Oh neat! You always hear about that kind of thing but I’ve never known anyone it’s happened to. I always hoped I’d have the sense to pay it forward as well if it happened to me. 🙂

  2. Aurore says:

    I’ve occasionally thought about that but just never followed through – on my next coffee stop I will do it.

  3. Babe Lincoln says:

    There are so many little things that can set us off in a day; it’s nice when something can completely catch you off guard and change the course of your day.

  4. Hubman says:

    That’s a very cool story! I hope the rest of your day went just as well.

  5. Ok so….It’s late, I’m tired, it’s friday and I’m fried but I’ve never quite understood how one can pay for the order of the person behind them in drive-thru, how do they know what to pay / what you got?

    It’s nice, and it can create a nice interesting chain going. I wonder though if it makes the checkout harder for the Starbucks guy? I dunno. Perhaps I’m the only one who gets easily confused by numbers and money and multiple items, lol. I wonder what the retail people think of the person who accepts the free coffee but doesn’t pay it backwards (forwards). Do they think less of them?

  6. Joanna Cake says:

    What a fabulous idea… and a wonderful way to cheer up the day of a whole line of people!

  7. Vixen says:

    It’s definitely something like that that can stop you right in your tracks. How very sweet of that person and then you for paying it for forward.

    I hope your day got better.

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