Be the First
I was waiting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks with my 3-week-old baby snuggled in the back. We were already running behind for his pediatrician appointment, but after the night we just had, I needed something to wake me up....
I was waiting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks with my 3-week-old baby snuggled in the back. We were already running behind for his pediatrician appointment, but after the night we just had, I needed something to wake me up.
I would like to have a T-shirt that says “I have a newborn at home.” I feel like that would explain to everyone why I arrive late everywhere, looking disheveled with dark circles under my eyes.
The line was forever long, as always. No one was inside, but I wasn’t about to drag that 40-pound car seat out of the car just to save a few minutes.
I ordered my soy chai tea (because coffee hasn’t been an option ever since I became repulsed at the taste and smell of it when I was pregnant) and a vanilla scone.
When I finally made it up to the window, the Starbucks barista handed me my drink and scone and kindly said, “The car in front of you paid for your order, so you are good to go!”
I was still half asleep and stunned. “Wow, well I want to pay for the car behind me then,” I said. His order was just a grande coffee, $2.13. When she was taking my payment, I said, “This must be really cool for you guys to see when it happens.”
“Oh yes,” she said. “It starts a train and it’s so fun to count and see how long it goes on. So far we are up to five cars.”
And I wonder how many cars after me continued it?
That’s what paying it forward does. When you initiate an act of kindness, no matter how small, it has a ripple effect beyond what you can see. That first car, four cars ahead of me, had no idea my day was made because of something they did.
But because they took that first step, at least a few of us pulled out of the drive-thru much happier than when we pulled in. It wasn’t just the coffee that was paid for either. It was the kindness that was shared.
And it doesn’t have to be in line at Starbucks. You could pay down someone’s layaway, leave a large tip at a restaurant, or even just mail a handwritten note to friends or family. There are endless ways you can be the first person to initiate an act of kindness that will have a ripple effect on more people than you realize.
That day, I left Starbucks with more than just my hot drink. I left wanting to find more ways to be like that first car in line. My hope is that we would all look for opportunities to start a train of people making other people’s days.