Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Goes Around

I had to drive my son to basketball practice on my way to work, but we made a pit stop at Starbucks (because I only boycotted them for one whole week). I was crying a little on the way and my son said, “Mom, I’ll go into Starbucks for you.”

“Austin, I’m not crying so that you feel sorry for me. Thank you, but Ill be fine.”

“I know. I just don’t want the Starbucks people to see you crying.”

“They won’t. I’ll stop before I go in.” And I did. I wiped my eyes and made sure I didn’t have mascara running down my face (I didn’t). Then I proceeded into the Starbucks where EVERYBODY knows my name (queue Cheers theme song).

Standing in line, I was just staring into space when I heard, “Why do you look so sad?”

I turned and looked at the man standing behind me. I never saw him before. He had kind, gentle eyes and I responded, “Someone broke my heart.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll pray for you.”

Even though Im an Atheist, I don’t reject prayers from those who are religious. “Thank you.” I managed a smile.

“What’s your name?” He asked.


“Im Scott.” He held out his hand and I shook it.

“It’s nice to meet you, Scott.”

I got up to the counter, where the manager, Doug, said, “Are you still doing decaf?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“I’m going to buy Pam’s drink today,” Scott said as he made his way to the register to stand beside me.

“Oh, that’s not necessary,” I began to protest until a little voice in my head said, Pam give AND receive with grace!

“I would like to do this for you,” Scott said. “You don’t get one of those fancy coffees, do you?”

“Yes, I get a Latte!”

“Im just teasing!” He laughed as he handed Doug his smart phone to pay for the coffees.

“Thank you very much,” I said gratefully. “We’re told to give and receive with grace, so I’m RECEIVING with grace.” My eyes welled up with tears because it had been such an emotional couple of days and now here was this stranger trying to brighten MY day with an act of kindness, something I had done countless times for other strangers.

“Youre very welcome.” Scott told me honestly. I could see I had caught him off guard with my explanation, so I hugged him to let him know how much I appreciated his act of kindness.

I’ve been going to that same Starbucks for years, at least 3 – 4 times a week, and sometimes even twice a day, and I had never seen this man before. Why was he there the very day that I felt sad? Why did he choose to show ME a kindness? Was it a coincidence? Or was it all the good karma coming back TO me?

I truly believe we reap what we sow and since I have been nurturing a kindness attitude it came back to me the very day that I needed it!

Later I was able to pay that kindness forward! 

My son and I were at the bank drive-thru and watched as a car broke down. More than half a dozen vehicles passed this man and his now defunct car, honking their horns and shooting him gestures with their hands—all to get to WalMart! Because goodness knows, getting that special parking spot would make them feel better than helping a distressed human being ever could!

The man found a white plastic bag from his trunk and stuck it in a window to warn on-coming traffic that his vehicle was immobile and he had NO flashers and he was trying to figure a way to cross the street safely—all in the pouring rain!

Austin said, “Mom we have to help him. 

We will, as soon as I get my receipts. So when I got them, I drove up to the man and put down the passenger side window and called out, "Do you need help?"

I need to get to WalMart to buy a new battery. 

Well, get in, Ill drive you. I told him.

Oh thank you!  He exclaimed.

I drove him the short distance to WalMart, but it wouldve felt like an eternity walking in the rain! He thanked me again when I dropped him off. 

Now, anyone driving up to WalMart couldve done what I did, but no one bothered to stop to even see what the man needed. They were too self-absorbed to give him a thought, other than to honk, because he was in THEIR way!

Ill bet dollars to donuts if they are having a bad day no one will buy THEIR coffee at Starbucks!

What comes around, goes around. But remember, it can go both ways. Do random acts of kindness and maybe if you are having a bad day, someone will respond with kindness. Or be a jerk and others will...well, respond with jerkiness. I prefer the former, even if I dont get a free cup of coffee; it just makes me feel good inside.

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