A couple of weeks ago a story surfaced here in the Tampa Bay area that made its way to the national news outlets about a “Pay it Forward” chain at a Starbucks that spanned over 450 customers. It all started with one woman paying for her coffee as well as the order of the person behind her in line. The trend continued for 10 hours until one woman decided she was not paying for anyone else’s order, she only wanted to pay for hers. Not to be outdone, the chain started back up again shortly thereafter and at last count was up to 750 people. According to the employees at this particular location, this is a common occurrence. It is nice to see people looking out for one another.
When I was younger, I ran into the grocery store to grab a tub of ice cream while my mother waited in the car. The woman in front of me in line paid for my order. I was shocked and so grateful! Since then, I have looked for ways to help other people in a similar fashion. I was given the opportunity once when the debit card of the person in front of me wasn’t working. I asked them to “pay it forward” someday. There is something to be said for helping others when the need arises; not only does it bless them, it also blesses us.
Our days rush by in a blur of meetings, car pool lines, texts and emails. We get so caught up in our own “stuff” that we rarely take a moment to look around and see the many needs in our area. It could be the woman in front of your coffee shop with a sign that reads “Hungry” or the man sitting alone on the park bench every morning on your running route. I think many times we pass them by out of fear or skepticism. We hear stories of homeless or downtrodden people scamming the system so we are conditioned to say things like, “They probably make more than me!” or “They could work if they wanted to.” We don’t want our pride hurt by giving to someone who doesn’t really need help (or we have decided they don’t need our help).
Slow down and pay attention to people; look in their eyes and see them. Talk to them. Take a moment when you hand that person a couple of dollars to find out how they got there. Ask them their story. Your act of kindness could change their life!
This song by Matthew West, “My Own Little World” sums it up perfectly!
What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world