From Thanksgiving to Christmas I am at the height of The Season. This is my time. My heart is inundated with feelings of giving, loving and caring about others, moreso than any other time of the year.
As has been for the last 4 years in particular, my “thing” during this season of giving is to anonymously pay for other’s purchases. Don’t get carried away! I’m only talking McDonald’s! I admittedly am addicted to McD’s frappes, and buy one or maybe two per week in the Baldwinsville drive-thru on my way to work. During The Season, I make a habit of placing my order (usually a busy time for McD’s) and then going to the window to pay, before going to the second window to pick up my order. While paying, I will tell the cashier that I also want to pay for whoever the order is that is right behind me. Usually I’ll get a weird little look from the cashier, but then she obliges and rings up my order and then the next one, and I pay her. So as not to totally confuse the person behind me whose order I just paid for, I pre-make by hand/computer little 3 x 5 cards (or cardstock cut up) some Christmassy-decorated note saying something along the lines of “pay it forward” and “Merry Christmas”, then I hand that card to the cashier when I pay and tell the cashier to give the card to the person whose order I just paid for… which she gladly obliges again.
My absolute favorite thing about this arrangement I’ve created is watching in my rear view mirror the face of the driver behind me as the cashier hands him/her the card and explains that it’s already been paid for. Usually the mouth drops open and a smile appears, which is a cue that (hopefully) my point has been made and that person’s life enriched just a little by kindness. And I pray that they pass it on. ‘Tis the Season of Giving!
As I said, I’ve been doing this for about 4 years now, and have had only one “bad reaction” in all this time. Once, upon pulling up to pick up my order and look in my rearview mirror for the reaction of the next driver, that driver (a woman) did not appear to be happy. Indeed, she pulled up quickly behind me while I was still waiting for my order, and she jumped out of her car in anger and came to my window (which I quickly closed) and began yelling at me: “Who are you? You don’t know me! WHY would you buy my breakfast??” etc. I just cracked open my window and smiled at her and said I did it because “I wanted to”. She stared at me for a moment, while the server in the window waited for something to erupt, then she turned and got back into her car and let me go with my breakfast. Wow! However, that brush with death did not waver my inclination to keep giving in this fashion.
The expense? C’mon! At most it has cost me around $7-$8 for both my and the other’s breakfast. Once or twice a week. It’s a small price to pay for the enlightenment of someone else’s day. Want a real kick? Go through the drive-thru, do not order anything for yourself, pull up to the confused and puzzled cashier’s window and just pay for the person behind you. Make the effort! No, I’m not rich, not with money anyways. But I’m rich in other ways, and God sees to it I always have enough to share with others. Try it, you’ll like it.