Last week, while traveling between clients and appointments, I stopped at a wonderful, out of the way bakery for a quick treat. My mind was everywhere but in the present moment. I hastily scanned the options, placed my order, and proceeded to the register to pay. I began digging through my purse while waiting for the customer in front of me to process her transaction, only to discover I did not have my wallet.
I immediately recalled exactly where it was. And while I was comforted by the knowledge that it was not lost, I was no less inconvenienced and embarrassed by my predicament. I thought of leaving my purchase on the counter and walking out, but not wanting to cause offense, I instead sheepishly handed the items to the cashier and explained the oversight.
Upon hearing my explanation, the customer ahead of me opened her purse and offered to pay my bill. The employee waved her away, saying she wouldn't think of letting her pay or allowing me to leave empty-handed. She handed the bag back to me and insisted that if I didn't take it from her she would chase me out of the store and put it in my handbag by herself.
Cheered by her humor and heartened by their collective generosity, I took the treat and left. I will, of course, go back to repay the debt, but in the meantime, I am looking for opportunities to pay it forward.
Benevolence extends far beyond material gifts, and its consequences are far-reaching. What can you do today to spur someone to love and goodness?