Coffee shop lesson
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
The past weekend I was on the Front Range visiting my family. It was early on Saturday morning when I decided to run some errands with my mom around the big city. I was a bit crabby by the cloudy weather, the intense traffic and the fact that it was morning and I’m not a morning person. I decided that before we got started with anything that some coffee was in order. Apparently, so did a million other people. As I was sitting in the car, speaking my grouchy mind to my mother about the drive-thru line, we ordered our coffee and waited. By the time we got to the window, I was so excited to get a little pick-me up that I quickly handed over my money. Much to my surprise, the barista sweetly said, “Ma’am, your coffee is free today. The car in front of you paid for your coffee this morning.” I was astonished. People really do that? I think I mumbled out a, “Wow, really? Why? That was so nice.” My mom and I looked at each other and there was only one thing left to do. I asked the barista to ring up the car behind us and we paid for their coffee. It was a simple act of “Paying it Forward,” or in this case, “Paying it Backward!” Interestingly enough, it changed my entire perspective on the day and ultimately changed my day.
It was such a small lesson that morning. Doing something for someone else feels so good and only takes a minute. I’m not suggesting that every time you are in a line for a treat like coffee that you automatically pay for the person behind you. I don’t think it has anything to do with monetary value. I am suggesting that you think of things to make someone else’s day brighter. It can be as simple as holding the door open for somebody behind you or smiling kindly to a stranger. It is stopping to acknowledge and chat with somebody that may be living on the street for the simple fact that it is interaction with another human being. I think what you will find is that if your day is going downhill, the moment you go out of your way for someone else, the day will get better. It’s an interesting concept that if you help others, you help yourself. In reality, it’s why volunteering and community service work so well.
I was so touched by this small gesture that I couldn’t help but smile as we drove away. I asked my mom if that had ever happened to her before. It hadn’t. I can honestly say that it had never happened before to me nor had it even occurred to me to do something so sweet and genuine. So if you are having a bad day, think of ways to help others and you may see a difference in your own day.
YouthZone staff work everyday helping others and we are always pleasantly surprised by the families who in turn put a smile on our faces also. If your family needs a lift, or a gift of paying it forward, please give us a call at 945-9300.
– Jenna Roe is a YouthZone Case Manager
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