Something wonderful happened a today. I had just dropped my daughter off at daycare, and I was heading home for a long and tedious morning full of writing cover letters, studying for my nutrition certification and dealing with realtors. I decided a trip to the drive-through Starbucks was in order, so pulled up and order a venti decaf Americano. I order this drink so regularly that I know how much it costs*, so I had the exact change ready. I was behind an SUV, and noticed that the lady driving it handed money through the window, was then handed money back, and then for some reason handed more money through the window. I assumed she had ordered additional items after getting to the window, but didn’t give it too much thought.
When I pulled up to the window, I reached my arm out of the car holding the cash for my drink, expecting that the barista would take it. Instead, she kept her arms by her side, and informed me that the lady ahead of me had paid for my drink. I was really touched by the random kindness, but had no idea why a stranger would be so nice to me, so I asked the barista if she knew why?
“Nope!” she replied, “People just pay for each other’s drinks to be nice. It happens quite a lot.”
In all reality, giving $3.20** to someone is not the most charitable or kind act, nor I am the most deserving of said charity or kindness. But it put me in a fantastic mood for the rest of the day, and definitely had an positive effect on how I treated other people. I was reminded about the huge effect on society that the smallest acts can have.
I was going to come up with some cheesy challenge for the Women of DDPY group to do a random act of kindness every day this month, but it occurred to me that it was a little narcissistic to expect other people to pay forward my good fortune. Then it occurred to me to set the same challenge for myself, but again the cheesiness belied the genuine appreciation I had for the nice Starbucks lady. So instead I am just going to say this: from now on, I will make a more concerted effort to do nice things for people, both friends and strangers, of my own volition and for no reward. I hope that some of you reading this post will join me in that effort, because doing nice things for people makes for a nicer society and feels good.
Also, if you bought someone a coffee at the Nations Drive, Gurnee Starbucks at 9am on 2/27/14, thank you!
*Actually, I know how much it costs in both Illinois ($3.20) and in Wisconsin ($3.11). Yes, I drink too much decaf! ** Thank you Illinois sales tax!