One Small Gesture Can Reap Huge Blessings

"Next time I am in the drive-through and feel the urge to pay it forward — there will be no hesitation."

On more than one occasion I have pulled up to the drive-through window at Starbucks and the cashier has said, "No charge! The person in front of you is 'paying it forward.' " What a nice way to start the day.

I always wish I could run after that person to thank him or her. Consequently, I always watch my rearview mirror to see if someone I deem "worthy" of that gesture is behind me. Once in a while I do, and I feel like a naughty schoolgirl who just got away with something when I pay for their coffee. I trust my generosity is appreciated although that is not why I do it. Giving in secret is much more rewarding — and fun! That particular morning, I glanced in my rearview mirror when I got to the drive-through window to pay. An attractive middle-aged woman was driving a shiny sports car with the top down. I could see her gold jewelry glistening in the sunshine. I smiled to myself thinking, No way does she need me to buy her coffee! I imagined she had more money than she knew what to do with, but then that voice shouted in my heart: Pay for her coffee.

Are you kidding me? I shouldn't have been buying a special coffee for myself, let alone a stranger. My finances were tight and I was already feeling guilty for spending cash on my own coffee.

I cringed, but I told the cashier, "Please put the red convertible's order on my tab." As soon as I said it, I felt relief. I knew I had been obedient to that little voice and that was all that really mattered. I paid the server and proceeded to the parking lot. I had a quick errand to run. When I got back to my car, the red convertible was parked next to mine.

"Hi," the lady said. She was gorgeous and reeked of money. "I want to thank you for the coffee this morning. I never expected that." "You're welcome. I was just 'paying it forward.'" I smiled and started to get into my car.

"Do you have a minute?" she asked.

I nodded and she proceeded to cry. "I don't know why I am telling you this, but I need you to know how much I appreciate that cup of coffee this morning."

"There's no need to thank me. I was happy to do it." I felt a twinge of guilt, as I wasn't being totally honest.

"My husband and I may have to declare bankruptcy. Our business partner swindled us out of all our holdings and left us in the cold. This could not have come at a worse time as we lost our son to cancer last month. He was only 26 years old. Our hearts are breaking and we aren't thinking clearly. I blamed God and asked Him why He didn't care. I told him it was not fair and there were moments when I didn't know if I could go on. I needed a sign that He still loved us and that everything would work out. When you bought my coffee this morning, I knew that was my sign. I had no idea God cared enough to tell a stranger to buy my coffee. Thank you ever so much. I will never forget this, especially if I am feeling alone."

Now I was the one who was fighting back tears. I told her that I could relate on both counts. We, too, had recently lost our son, and we had also lost our business to partners who stole it from us. I shared how God does indeed care and He would mend her broken heart.

We chatted for a few more minutes, exchanged phone numbers and set up a coffee date.

I sat in my car for a few minutes, visibly shaken. I believe I gave her much more than a cup of coffee that morning. I will be her friend and her confidante. I will lend support — she will know she is not alone. Next time I am in the drive-through and feel the urge to pay it forward — there will be no hesitation. 


Courtesy of Carol Graham

This story is from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Random Acts of Kindness: 101 Stories of Compassion and Paying It Forward © 2017 Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC. All rights reserved.

Cover image via NEstudio I Shutterstock


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