Pay it Forward Recap

So did you do it? Did you buy a coffee (or other specialty drink) for a stranger last weekend?

Here’s my story…

Equipped with my computer, camera/phone and bank card, I headed over to my neighbourhood Starbucks for a little bit of quiet time to work on my presentation at the downtown library, Tuesday.

I got myself a grande chai and then hunkered down to get some work done. As I did, I kept my eye on the crowd coming in. I was waiting for a dead spot to make my move. After all, it feels a bit awkward to buy a stranger a drink when they’re right there behind you in the line-up. Especially if they’re the opposite sex and think you’re chatting them up. And I wanted to orchestrate my gift in a way that I was getting nothing but the satisfaction of doing something in return. No thank you required, no thinking highly of me to boost my ego. Just a quiet reaching out to someone faceless from another faceless someone.

After two hours of working, and just in time for me to hit the road, the queue dwindled away for a bit. So I headed to the counter. The barista didn’t need any explanation, which gives me hope that this gesture is common enough these days. She rang in a grande Refresher (the most in-demand bevvy right now, according to the manager), and offered to write a message on the cup for whomever got it. “Have a good day, from a little elf,” the message said. The elf part was admittedly kinda stupid quaint, but it’s the best I came up with off the top of my head (what does that say about the top of my head?? Don’t answer that!).

I never saw who got the drink. I don’t know if they were having a good day or a bad one. But I hope that, even for a couple of hours, they felt like they were special.

I know that, even without the praise and acknowledgement, I left feeling pretty special, myself. Being able to give something has that effect.

– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier

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  1. In the drive through I always see them behind me but I like the idea of doing it when no one is around and they would have no idea who did it. I think I will try that next time.

  2. That is too easy. Next time go up to a homeless person and give them the shoes off your feet, then walk away. During winter give the coat off your back, then walk away. You can say to them” I want you to have this”. i don’t know how people end up in dire circumstances, there are always many factors. Both of you will be in a better place in your heart. Who knows maybe that will bring about a dramatic change in their lives if not financially maybe spiritually. That is where we all need to get to.
    I would like to add that I do like your blog very much.

  3. Thank you, quaint little elf. There’s nothing stupid about simple kindness! I’ve been on the receiving end of a gesture like yours more than once; most recently, I went to pay for my tea at Coffee Traders in Cochrane, and the guy in line ahead had bought my drink (turns out I knew him, too; he was the local paper’s publisher). Made my day.

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