How do you expect someone to act when you give them something? If it’s a gift, you expect a sincere “thank you” and maybe even a compliment. If you had someone your extra change as a tip, you might expect a smile. When you hold a door or elevator open, you expect at the very least a nod of appreciation.
But what do you do when your kind gesture is thrown in your face? You can’t tell what will happen after you give someone something, and you can’t expect them to use it in the way you hope…You have to trust that they will do the right thing…
Today, a woman in my line at McDonald’s noticed the Marine in line behind her, and when she handed me $20 to pay for her meal, she said, ‘Keep the extra $12 and use it to pay for the Marine’s meal.’
When the Marine got up to the counter and ordered his food, I informed him that it was already paid for by another customer. He stared at me for a second, then turned his head and glanced out the front window, handed me his cash anyway and said,
‘Okay, make it two #4 meals then.’ The line got quiet. We all assumed he might say thank you, or pay it forward to the next person in line…but instead he ordered MORE food. He didn’t seem phased by our confused stares.
On the way out of the restaurant he handed the second meal to a homeless man who was resting on the sidewalk.
I instantly felt guilty for doubting him at all.”
Many people don’t give their change to the homeless for fear that “they’ll just spend it all on booze and drugs.” You can’t know that. You can’t tell the future. You have to give for the sole purpose of giving without expecting anything back. This woman took a risk by paying for a stranger’s meal…and that kind gesture doubled in size within just minutes! It was paid forward before she even left the building. And that in itself is amazing.
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