Pay It Forward… Today

I had something completely different planned for this morning’s post, but then something happened. What is it they say, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans?”

Things were quiet in our house early this morning. My wife was not yet home from her overnight shift in the hospital. My three boys are already off for Christmas break (Catholic school) so they were sleeping. My daughter had asked to get a ride to school at 6:30 to meet with her chemistry teacher, so I arose at 5:00 to get some things done before making the fifteen-minute round trip to Penfield High School.

I showered, fed the dog, and settled in at the kitchen table – coffee steaming and laptop aglow in the early morning darkness.

Around 6:00 I heard my daughter stirring upstairs, and at 6:25 she appeared just as I emptied my coffee mug. We got into the car and I dropped her off in the PHS bus loop without incident. As I drove away, I decided to swing by Starbucks before heading home. I received a SBUX gift card for my birthday ten days ago and it seemed like a good time to put it to use.

The Starbucks in Penfield, NY - a good place to pay it forward

The Starbucks in Penfield, NY

I pulled in right next to two County Sheriff cars in the nearly deserted lot. Normally by 6:45, the Penfield Starbucks is hopping, but not today. As I stood in line waiting my turn behind only one other person, I spied the two cops in the corner. I stood quietly looking at the overpriced baked goods (like we all do), and I heard another customer come in behind me. The next moment went like this:

Barista: Good morning, what can I get you?

Me: Venti Christmas Blend please, with room for milk.

Barista: Will that be all?

Me: No (turning to my left and looking at the lady behind me in line) whatever she’s having too.

Lady: Really? You don’t have to do that.

Me: Well, people have done it for me and it really made my day, so just tell the barista what you’ll have.

She ordered some kind of Jasmine tea. I scanned my Starbucks app on my phone to pay the bill. The Barista handed me my drink. I turned to the lady and said “have a great day.” She smiled saying, “I already am.”

I did not set out to do that this morning, it literally struck me as the barista asked if I wanted anything else. The lady behind me was not in rags nor did she appear to be in need of anything.  She was well dressed and was holding out her own iPhone 6, ready to pay the barista the same way I did. However, here’s the thing to always remember:

Outward appearances are exactly that – appearances. None of us know what is going on in the mind, home and heart of another. A simple gesture of human kindness can make all the difference.

So, my challenge to you all is to go out and make the effort TODAY to be overtly giving in a situation that doesn’t necessarily call for it. If you do, I absolutely guarantee that the recipient of your kindness will not be the only one who has a better day. The ultimate gift to the soul is the feeling that comes from giving to another. In other words – Pay it forward.

So, go out there and get your soul something nice… you deserve it!

Copyright © 2015 – Stephen S. Nazarian – All rights reserved.

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5 thoughts on “Pay It Forward… Today

  • Nice touch. Great thought. Here is a similar thought I recently shared on Facebook:
    I found a friend like everyone should have at least once in their lives. It was when I was in my early 20’s. I was timid, he was a spreader and it wasn’t manure! He made people feel good about themselves. I studied what he did. I began to copy it. He directed his attention to whomever was in his presence. He asked them questions. He dug in. He went beyond the perfunctory first question traditionally used as an icebreaker. He dug in. He was fascinated with what he was hearing. He wanted to hear more. Slowly,hope began to resurface in the eyes of everyone he met. No matter their station in life, they became the person of importance in his world.
    Sprinkled in was that elixir of all life, humor. Sometimes it was outrageous. To me, it was often repetitive but it always worked. Hope, lightheartedness, sunshine and the chemistry of good feelings took over and began to create thoughts and memories that surely lasted a lifetime. I am living proof of that.

    So, I learned a way of life from this friend. When I follow it I feel like the richest man on earth.

    I wish everyone a friend like mine.

  • Reader responses are great — it is the little things, and I wholeheartedly agree with paying it forward in whatever way we are prompted “in the moment.” For, as soon as it passes, it is gone. I call it the “3-second” window!

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