The drive-thru line was unbelievably long. But I was stuck. They were clever in designing the drive-thru lane. There was no way to escape if you were caught in it. There was a retaining wall to my right and the building to my left. There were two cars in front of me and at least two cars behind me. I was trapped.
I couldn’t help but think, “how many drinks did that minivan order?” I started thinking about ways to improve this coffee shop’s drive-thru service. Maybe limiting each car to no more than two drinks.
My process improvement quickly moved to listing all the things I needed to accomplish before my lunch appointment. I could feel my blood pressure rise. Another song played on the radio. The minivan was still at the window.
I started practicing deep breathing. Miraculously, the minivan was finished and the line moved up. The next two cars only had one drink each. I was finally at the window. The cashier handed me my drink and with a smile said, “It’s paid for. The last car paid for your drink.”
And just like that, all of my frustration and anxiety vanished. Kindness killed it. I couldn’t help but smile. My to do list no longer mattered. I was grateful for the unexpected act of kindness.
In return, I decided to pay it forward. I paid the order for the car behind me. I don’t know how long the pay it forward momentum lasted. But for me, that act of kindness lasted all day.
Even now, several months later, I still smile when I think about it. It was a small act of kindness – my drink costs less than $5 – but the impact was priceless. It reminded me how kindness – no matter how small the act – can change one’s perspective.
Will you kill it with kindness? What small act of kindness will you start to encourage others to pay it forward?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter and as a financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”