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Random Act of Nice

By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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Nov 16 in Dan's Musings
So there I was, in line at Starbucks in Pasadena. The exact location changes but the routine is pretty much a daily occurrence. There were five people working, but just one cashier. With only a single customer in front of me, I knew I wouldn't have a long wait. And for once, I wasn't in a hurry. The young woman in front of me was clearly a regular at the shop because she was chatting up all five employees. At once.
It took...a long time. But I wasn’t in a hurry. She updated everyone on her job, tried to make up her mind about her drink, changed it in mid-order and finally settled in. Then she pulled out her wallet and got out money to pay, only to change her mind and decide to use her phone app- which she had to find, and then struggled to get it lined up with the app reader on the counter. While doing so, she knocked over some of the retail items in front of the cash register, and as she picked those up she dumped part of the contents of her wallet. At the last second, she realized she had brought her own cup for her coffee drink, so everything stopped while the order was switched out of a paper cup and into hers.
           
It was only at this moment the young woman became aware that there were people in line behind her. Like me. But I wasn’t in a hurry. She gave me a radiant smile and apologized all over herself for taking such a long time, and then asked me what I was going to order. I was confused as to why she needed that information, but I gave my standard answer: Venti drip coffee, dark roast, no room. She smiled again and turned back to the cashier and added my drink onto her order. I protested strongly, but she would have none of it. “I’m just so sorry to keep you waiting all this time, I’m buying your drink.” I argued again, futilely. She handed me my coffee and said
“Have a really great day!”
           
Wow, 7am in the morning and I was the recipient of an unnecessary, random and smiling act of nice. I walked out the door chuckling. And smiling. As I walked down the sidewalk I thought about it. A police car screamed up Colorado, the news is full of wildfire catastrophes and shootings, our political debates are downright malicious and there seems to be a dearth of people who actually care about the common good. But on one morning, one smile, one cup of coffee somehow parted the clouds and changed everything. I wondered what I could do to pay it forward. I thought about the apostle Paul saying Be kind and compassionate to one another...”  I marveled at what one tiny act of nice could do. Just one.
                                   
See you soon,       
       Pastor Dan

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