October 16, 2013

PAY IT FORWARD

So today's "feel good" story actually starts back in December 2012 when I was in Vegas for my cousin's bachelorette party.  We had gone out to dinner at a sushi restaurant and there was an older couple eating at the table next to ours.  They struck up a friendly conversation with us and we chatted away throughout dinner. We ended up finishing our dinner before they did and the waiter brought us the check.  All of us girls reached for our purses and took out our credit cards to pay.  But as we were doing so, the couple reached for our bill and told us that it was on them, and wished us a happy holiday.  We were all in complete shock.  We had ordered a lot of food and drinks, and this couple that we just met, complete strangers, wanted to pick up our tab.  And it wasn't because we didn't have any money to pay (I think one of the girls may have busted out a Black Card), it was a "just because."  That random act of kindness made our night and it made a real impression on us.  Since then, I've been wanting to do the same thing for someone else.

Well, today I got my chance.  On my lunch break, I was going to make a quick stop at the market to pick up a salad.  But then the thought of eating (another) salad seemed unappetizing and I decided to look for something else (i.e., carbs).  I wandered around the corner and came across a Subway.  Not that exciting, but sub sandwich > salad.

I went into Subway, stood in line and ordered my sub.  I wasn't paying too much attention to the somewhat elderly lady in front of me, but as I got ready to pay, I heard the cashier apologize to her, telling her that her card was declined.  In my mind, I thought the woman was going to take out another card to pay with, since this isn't that unusual of an occurrence (I'm sure it's happened to all of us at some point).  But she didn't.  Instead, she started to walk away, without her food, and the cashier put her meal on the back counter.  This caught my attention, so I asked the cashier if that was the woman's lunch (duh it is, no clue why that was my first question).  By then I realized what had just happened, so I called the woman back, just as she was already out the door.  When she looked back at me, I told her to come back, "I got you."  Her face completely lit up.  It was now her turn to be in shock.  She sincerely thanked me and told me that she was going to "pay it forward."  Even the two girls working the register were surprised and thanked me for doing something so nice.

Now, I don't write this story to brag about what I did today.  I write this to remind us to do good.  Matthew 25:35 says, "for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in."  These strangers that we meet are like images of Christ, so how we treat them is how we treat Christ.  And I truly believe that these random acts of kindness leave such an impression on both parties that it creates a domino effect; the Vegas couple left me feeling like I couldn't wait to advance the same kindness to someone else.  Today, I had that opportunity with my Subway lady, which left such an impression on her, that, in her own words, she will one day pay it forward.  And it left me feeling truly gratified.  There is a palpable feeling of happiness that comes with making someone else happy, and I think that feeling is only magnified when it is a stranger because it's so unexpected.  For me, a mundane event like going to Subway ended up being the highlight of my day.

So just think, with this domino effect, our world, which is often a harsh and scary place to be in, can be made just a little happier.  I hope you look for your own ways to "pay it forward."


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