Do You Pay It Forward?


This morning I took the kids to our local farmer’s market. We do a circuit of the place, always hitting the same vendors for the past many years. My daughter loves Tabouli so we made our way over to our favorite Mediterranean food vendor and I was just about to tell him what I wanted, when a very animated older man who was obviously on a mission to buy out the store, turned to me and said to the shop owner…”and I’m buying her’s too.” I was so taken aback that I didn’t know what else to say except “Why?” and he replied…”because I can and I want to.” I shook his hand, thanked him after I asked his name (Joe). He says – “so get whatever you want, as much as you want…it’s on me” I got what I had planned to, two things of Tabouli, and one of the Greek pita bread for a total of $10. Joe paid him the $10 even though he himself had a stack of about 20 different things that he was getting. I asked him if he owned a restaurant or was having a party, and he said no. So I asked him why he was getting so much stuff, and he said he felt like he had to keep this guy in business. He liked his food so much, he didn’t want him to go out of business! Wow – talk about a patron! As I was about to walk away, I decided to buy a box of the pita chips – and made to pay for it, not expecting Joe to have to pick up that tab too…but he did. He insisted in fact. He told me to have a glorious day and you know what – it actually was a glorious day!

I mentioned to him as I walked away with my wares that I would have to pay it forward next week when I shopped here again. He said, don’t do it because you have to, be sure to do it only if you want to…because there’s no one telling you that you have to. So I re-phrased my sentence and said – “I plan to pay it forward next week – nothing will give me more pleasure.” And I meant it!

Whether it’s buying coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks or paying for someone’s Tabouli habit at your farmer’s market – it’s not so much the cost that matters, it’s the gesture. I can’t tell you how lighthearted I felt all day today – not because I thought all day of Joe and his kind gesture toward me in the morning…but just because I know that it was because of Joe and his kind gesture!

Go ahead, make someone’s day and watch how it makes yours!

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