A stranger bought me a cup of coffee and other random acts of kindness


Sean Connery had it right in Finding Forester – “an unexpected gift at an unexpected time” makes all the difference.  I was standing in line at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, looking half asleep and basically wearing a combination of yoga gear and pajamas (my typical work-from-home uniform) and as I stepped up to pay for my coffee, the barista smiled and  said, “you’ve already been taken care of”. A young mother named Elizabeth and her adorable son Nathan were by the milk-and-sugar-station smiling and waving over at me– the perpetrators of this small yet disarmingly kind gesture. It was coffee rush-hour for goodness sakes! “Thank you so much” I sputtered out a few times. “That was so kind!” Elizabeth coolly smiled and said, just pass it along one of these days.

 Just pass it along…one of these days…

It is alarming how those 3 dollars from a stranger, a small gift, can change your day. I woke up feeling tired, a bit stressed about all my to-do’s, and if I remember correctly, annoyed at the freezing winter weather that has recently descended upon D.C. And this tiny gesture, this small unexpected surprise radically changed my day. I mean radically. I smiled all the way back to my apartment, shocked by how good I felt. This tiny shift made me feel like I, indeed, was going to have a good day after all. I was struck by one of my favorite quotes as I walked home –when Rumi writes:

 ‘Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor’

What if you lived each day, like every single part of it – even the frustrating bits – were happening for a reason. I’m not talking about predestination but I am talking about perspective.  Or, you can always just buy someone a cup of coffee and see what happens.