Something strange happened to me last week…I’m talking really strange…a woman insisted on paying for my order at Panera.
We had a big storm the night before and it knocked out our power, so my alarm didn’t go off, and I woke up 15 minutes late. I had to stop at Panera to get breakfast for the class I was facilitating. I’d been stopping there on my way to work all week, but I was about 10 minutes later than usual that morning.
When I got there, there were 2 people in line in front of me. While I studied the menu and decided what I wanted to order, a bus driver and another woman got in line behind me. The woman behind me knew the woman in front of me, so they started talking until the line moved forward. The lady in front of me ordered her bagel and coffee, and then leaned forward and said something to the cashier.
Then it was my turn. I stepped up and started ordering my coffee cake, bagels, and coffee, and while they started putting my order together, the lady leaned over and said, “I’m paying for your order.” I just stared at her at first, and when I finally found my voice, I told her that she didn’t have to do that. She said, no, she wanted to pay for my stuff. I told her it would be a lot, and I was getting reimbursed from work, but she still insisted. I asked her why…she said, “because it’s Thursday.” What??
My order probably came to $15 at least, and she insisted on paying for it. I had never seen this woman before in my life, and she knew the lady in line behind me, but she paid for my stuff. I managed to sputter out a “Thank You”, and “I really appreciate it,” but I felt like I should have said a lot more.
I drove to work in a daze…I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I guess it was truly a random act of kindness.
I started thinking that I now needed to do something nice for someone else. Because isn’t that the point of random acts? You’re supposed to pass that kindness on?
I’ve been thinking about what I could do, and I had 2 chances today, but still it seems like not enough to “pay back” what that woman did for me. At the gym this afternoon, I fixed the step of the girl in front of me so that she wouldn’t fall when she jumped on it. And at the grocery store later in the day, I helped a lady who was about to lose her soda from the bottom of her cart.
I guess part of the point might be just to make me more aware of being friendly to other people. Actually, that’s not a bad thing for me to be aware of…I tend to have very little patience for people in the public, and sometimes I’m not very nice.
I have no idea why that woman picked me to be nice to, but it definitely has caused me to think differently in the last several days. It’s not that big a deal to do something small for someone else, even if you don’t know them…I’m going to try to do those things more often from now on.