Picture a hospital cafeteria, filled with people who don't know one another. They have no real desire to comprehend one another's lives, because they each have their own stressors. A sick family member, a shift that has gone on for too long, stressors at home…..
Everyone has stressors, and its hard to pull ourselves away from our own issues for even a moment.
Picture this…A resident physician, still finding his way around the hospital. He's got a short window to eat something, and is waiting in line to pay for his meal. He looking around….he has a plan.
Behind him, is a tired nurse, who wants grab a quick bite and then put her feet up for a minute. She pays no mind to the people and noise around her…..she has a plan too. She wants to quickly pay for her meal, and utilize all the time she has on her break. Her thought process is broken, when she hears the cashier say “ma'am….ma'am…..What do you have in your container”?
She was confused, because it wasnt yet her turn. She spouts out her order, but doesn't understand.
The cashier said “That gentleman just paid for your lunch”.
This story was just told to me by one of my work colleagues this week. As she told the story, she was grinning ear to ear. That man had made her day! Despite what was happening to her in her personal life, or what work stress had occurred earlier that morning….she had no worries! It was beautiful to see. She said she knew she should pay it forward but didnt know when.
Just a couple days later, a friend of mine sent me a text of a similar story. This friend of mine is a little snootier than my colleague, so I thought that this was only occurring to her, so that she would learn a lesson in life….To be nice to people.:) She told me that while sitting in a fast food line, the man in front of her had paid three dollars toward her meal. Again, it was a nice gesture….One that made her question herself, and made her wonder how to respond. She wondered if you have to pay it back immediately, or if you can do it when you feel it's right.
That same day, I learned that this has happened ALOT recently. Sometimes 5 cars or more are paying for the persons meal behind them! What a fabulous concept. This seems like a real “Christmas” gesture in my opinion. A kind of reawakening….reminding you that there still are wonderful, giving people out there. We don't HAVE to have a reason to be nice! This has made me feel warm and fuzzy all week, and I couldnt wait to perform this deed myself, to up an unsuspecting stranger.
This morning, as I woke up for work, I was feeling tired. I was wishing for just a few more hours of rest before having to rouse. I grabbed my phone on the way down the stairs, and made my way to the kitchen to make coffee. I checked my phone out of habit, and found that I had two unread texts. I couldn't believe my eyes! The nurse that I had reported off to last night, asked if I wanted her to stay over 4 extra hours for me this morning! After clearing my eyes and rereading it….I smiled so big! Yes….I did want her to….I wanted more sleep….I was feeling very lazy!
I cozied myself back in bed and slept 3 more hours…I was going to be the envy of the unit. 🙂 Despite the fact that she probably only did this deed because she wanted more hours, to make more money, to pay for her growing list of Christmas present items, I was choosing to believe she did it to surprise me. That she wanted me to wake up happy. That she wanted me to get the rest I deserved…….She had become my hero!
After waking up rested, and feeling happy about the morning surprise, I decided I wanted to be nice to people today too. I left a little early to stop at Starbucks on my way to work. I would never be able to buy or carry enough coffees for my whole unit, but knew I could hand them out to the handful of people, in my own little area. The problem was, I didnt know if people liked coffee or tea or hot chocolate….so I had to guess.
I stood in line letting everyone pass me who had ONE order, until I realized I was never going to order! Then I irritated all the people behind me, by ordering 5 different drinks. Then, I took up more time, writing each name of the drink on each cup. Then I irritated the lady making them, who was supposed to be leaving for the day. However, right before I ordered, the lady coming on asked to go to the bathroom before starting her shift! …..It was all for a good cause right?
I was beaming with pride, as I made my way into work, with my drink holder of coffees. I felt pleased to offer them to my colleagues. They were all smiling and pleased to except them…..except……None of them liked coffee!!!!!
I felt a little deflated for a moment, watching them all fight over the one hot chocolate I bought. I was an idiot! Why would I think this would ever work?…..Then it happened! They all came together in my area, and they brought tasting cups! Each person who didnt like coffee, tried the coffee. Some even liked it! We all frolicked together a moment. People were happy…they were smiling! It was a simple gesture…It works!
I can't wait to do something nice for someone else again.
This year, why don't we all just pay it forward?!