Friday, July 25, 2014

Paid forward

Since getting my Magic Bullet four weeks ago, I haven't eaten solid breakfast food since. No eggs, bacon, sausage or hash browns. I love that stuff but somehow I don't miss it. I guess it's eaier to give up a vice when you have something good with which to replace it. However, I have retained the vice of enjoying coffee in the morning so I still patronize the McDonald's drive-thru for that.
Last Thursday morning at McDonald's for coffee. When I pulled up to the cashier, she said, "Today is your lucky day; the person in the car ahead of you paid for your coffee!" Huh. How about that? I've heard of that happening before but never been on the receiving end or even seen it happen to anyone. I waved at the driver ahead of me who must have been watching the whole thing in their mirror. They waved back before moving on. I pulled up to the pick-up window, they drove off and I never saw them again. It was a nice feeling and I immediately thought I needed to repay the gesture by doing the same thing for some other stranger the very next morning.
That's what I did and these are the (at that point, unwitting) recipients...
Turns out there were two people in the car who were getting full breakfasts. I guess I could have taken the opportunity to prosthelytize at great length about the merits of starting one's day behind a delicious fresh fruit smoothie instead of greasy salt bombs (no offense McDonald's, but that shit is, well, shit) but I haven't been at it long enough to do so and also, nobody likes that. In all, I ended up losing about $10 in the two days combined transactions, but that's okay. It was fun enough to be worth it. I watched the "victims" fall in line behind me, being the only person in the world who knew what was about to happen to them, that a small gesture was about to make their day a little better, at least for a moment. It was very much like pulling a prank, except nobody got hurt or even embarrassed. Yet in spite of that, it was still fun somehow.
I just saw a story yesterday online about a guy who met a soldier at an airport and ended up paying for a weekend's vacation for that soldier and his family. One of the comments on the story was from someone who said they wished they had enough money to do stuff like that. That is a very impressive gesture and I'm sure it was appreciated, but you don't have to do anything on that grand of a scale. You can do something similar for mere pennies.
Or less, if you're creative. When I worked at the Sun Dome, I used to look at the ticket manifest prior to a concert and pick twenty or thirty names at random. I'd give those names to Shannon, our production manager, and he would program messages saying "THE SUN DOME WELCOMES _____ TO TONIGHT'S SHOW" that would run on the scoreboards before the concert started. Sometimes those people would seek out a member of management to ask why they were being welcomed and we'd tell them, "we're just happy you're here." Zero dollars spent to make someone's night just a little more special. Pretty solid investment, I thought.

No comments: