Pay it forward coffee style

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The best way to start a day is to have something good happen early in the morning. It sets up the entire day. For me, today was that day.

When I was working, there was a “pay it forward” custom among employees who were regular Starbucks customers. We all stopped there for various kinds of coffee. Some days you could stop there and not see anyone from work and other days it seemed like an employee meeting.

About two or three years ago, Jane, our General Counsel, started paying for the coffee of the person in back of her in the “drive through” line. She did it for any employee. I was one of the lucky ones early on. To reward her, I paid for someone else on another day and so it went. Before you knew it, in the course of a month, you would end up with a free coffee from someone.

It may sound like a small act of kindness but it really made people smile. Getting the ends of the mouth up on a Monday morning on the way to work is huge. It’s just as great on Tuesdays through Fridays too.

One time I caught my next door neighbors in back of me and started their day off with a smile. I also found out that they get the same exact drink that I do with all the custom jargon.

Then I retired. No more surprises. I did continue to pick up my coffee but my time frame didn’t always match those of my former co-workers. Today I was early and Alex, a former co-worker, was in front of me. I had totally forgotten the “pay it forward” routine so I was doubly surprised when my coffee was paid for. (Thanks Alex!)

I know this isn’t unique. I had a friend who would routinely pay for the toll of the car in back when tolls were standard amounts like quarters or dollars and before EZ Pass. Sometimes the car would try to catch up to see who he was. Who hasn’t thrown down some change when the child ahead of you at the ice cream counter comes up short? There are tons of other stories too.  It not only makes the receiver feel good but the giver too.

There was a movie called, “Pay it Forward” which was in the theatres around 2000. It worked on the same premise with a young boy working to make it a better world. It’s a good movie to see if you like just a little schmaltz in your movies.

So what good deed are you going to do today?

Cover of "Pay it Forward"

Cover of Pay it Forward

23 thoughts on “Pay it forward coffee style

  1. Paying it forward is so easy….. Just pay attention first to those around you and your surroundings….. Then do for others what you would appreciate someone doing for you, even if it is only smiling or opening a door.


  2. I really liked that movie…and what a good pay it forward tradition with your workmates! How really lovely. I will have to think about what I could do that would be similar! I haven’t been to in tune with this, quite frankly! Great reminder! Debra


  3. Beautifully written and examined, KC. I think about this idea a lot, but it’s wonderful to see it illustrated in a moment as simple as a Starbuck’s drink. Isn’t it funny how one moment like that can turn the course of an entire day? I love that, and I love the way you’ve written this piece.


  4. I loved that movie and it is so good to hear that people are actually doing things like that. What a wonderful idea. Has got me thinking and I’ll definitely have to start doing something similar, whenever the opportunity arises. Thanks for a fantastic post.


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