In line at the take-out window of a local eatery recently, I fished out my wallet and prepared to pay.
As I reached the window, the attendant said, “Sir, you don’t owe anything. Your lunch was paid by the ladies in the car ahead of you.”
Perplexed, I queried the polite staffer about the identity of my benefactors: Did she know them or did they leave their names?
Both of which drew blanks.
“But this is interesting,” remarked the attendant. “We’ve had several customers do the same thing today.”
That was a head snap.
Upon returning to the office, I remarked about my experience.
Our far-more-worldly staffers explained that I had just been introduced to the “pay it forward” experience.
That’s when an “angel,” and in many cases as in mine, unknown, performs a good deed. The idea is that the beneficiary of that deed repays it to others instead of the original benefactor.
The concept has a lot of history, however the actual “pay it forward” phrase is alleged to have been coined by author Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book “In the Garden of Delight.”
Whatever, the gesture from what I believe to be complete strangers, made my day.
In the current muck of political bullying, bigotry, false and crude rhetoric, it seems our country could use more “pay it forward.”
And in response to the colleague who asked: “So, are you going to repeat the gesture?”