When Someone Pays for Your Coffee

Today was a good day. I had a wonderful time at work; engaged in meaningful conversations, felt competent and creative. All of that was set up by the simple act of someone paying for my Starbucks order in the drive thru line. 

Maybe this has happened to you, if not you have most likely heard about it. It is a simple phenomenon someone decides to pay for the order behind them and to give the gift of free coffee. Generaly the person behind them then pays for the next person in line, and so on. Although I have never set it in motion. This is probably the third time in my life it has happened to me. (That might be a revealing fact about how often I find my self in the Starbucks drive thru). 

Because it makes me happy, I keep it going when it happens to me and I pay for the person behind me. This morning, I ask the barista who takes my credit card how often this happens. "About once a week" she says. How long does the chain go on? She smiles at me. "As long as it needs to".

What wisdom from out of that drive thru window!

I feel invigorated as I drive away. Not because anything has changed, because it hasn't. I still payed for coffee this morning. But I feel a part of something bigger than myself. The power of the drive through gift chain is in it's beginning and in it's end.

The person who starts the chain has a feeling...a need...to do something for someone. They are a gift giver and we all know how fabulous it feels to be a gift giver. It is anonymous, clean, and easy they feel great and drive away. Then that gift gets thoughtfully passed through each vehicle; leaving a little bit of love in each car. Until it reaches the final person in the chain. This person is the gift recipient. Who knows why they drive away with the gift. Maybe they had a rough morning, maybe they are stressed, maybe there are no other cars behind them. It does not matter. They are the recipient of that initial impulse to reach out and share. Hopefully it has landed well with them. Hopefully they have also allowed love in to their car and maybe they will take that love out to the people in their life. 

Sure, it is a small thing. It barely matters and yet what makes it so beautiful is that it could matter so much. It has the potential to remind us that inside these boxes of steel we navigate around in, inside these bodies and voices and personalities; there is a beating heart. Each of us has the power to make life's little details sweeter; to smile, to be present, to witness each other's humanity. 

May be next time I will be the one to start it. When I do so I will remind myself that the love dropped in the bucket will go on just as long as it needs to.