I don’t do Black Friday. Ever. For any reason. Friday is my normal grocery shopping day but on Thanksgiving week, I make sure I stock extra provisions to hold the family over, lest I should have to venture out into the insanity of the holiday shoppers.
This year, I noticed an item that the family had been wanting/hemming/hawing over for a couple of years. It was absurdly cheap and so I found myself getting up this morning at the ridiculous hour of 6:30am to drive to a store nearly an hour away, with all of the other asylum residents.
On my way home, I was famished. The cereal I had consumed, three plus hours before, may as well have been eaten last week sometime, for all the energy it was providing. I was registering mild to moderate on the crabby scale because I got a bit lost on the way home.
I decided a breakfast sandwich would be just the thing … until I saw the drive-thru line … then I wasn’t so sure. Maybe a granola bar at home would work. Nope, fuck that. I’m doing something for me. I cranked up the stereo and sat in line.
While waiting, I contemplated if I had the funds to pay-it-forward. During the holidays, when people are so wrapped up in consumerism they forget to be kind, I will, when finances allow, pay for the car behind me in the drive-thru lane. I decided that since I wasn’t going out this weekend, that I would go ahead with it.
I pulled out the appropriate bill and got my pen ready, as it is my habit to write “Pay it Forward” on the receipt to be given to the customer with their paid for order. I looked in the rear-view mirror at the folks behind me. It was a young couple in an older car. I hoped it would make a difference in their day.
I pull up to the window, my schpeal at the ready, prepared for the cashier to be completely perplexed and for her to give me the why-would-you-pay-for-someone-you-don’t-know face that I have become accustomed to. She hands me my order and, with a huge grin, informs me that my order was paid for by the person in front of me.
I was immediately choked up. In all of the years I’ve been doing this for others, no one has ever done it for me. With my crabbiness obliterated and with tears in my eyes, I told her I would pay for the people behind me. She handed me my change, told me I was blessed, and sent me on my way.
Five bucks. That’s all it takes to make someone’s day.