Pay It Forward Is Ballooning, Part 2

, , , , | Right | October 12, 2020

I am working checkout, scanning the items of a lady in line, making small talk and smiling and generally trying to enjoy myself while making someone’s day a bit brighter. My customer is fairly young and seems tired, but kind.

I finished bagging her groceries (about $15 worth of microwaveable stuff) and she stays at the end of the register adjusting her purse and wallet after paying. Since she is taken care of, I start ringing up the gentleman behind her.

This guy has quite a few small items and his total is about twice that of the lady before him. When he goes to pay, the card reader gives him a chip error message.

Me: “Maybe you should try again, sir? Our machines are pretty sensitive and if the card is even a little smudged it won’t read it.

He tries it again, this time it registers as declined. He stepped away to call his bank and I save his order so that I can move onto the next person, but I am stopped by the lady who had yet to leave.

Customer #1: “I’ll pay for him.”

She still looks tired, and I can see a bit of hesitation there, and the guy has stepped away, so I ask:

Me: “Are you sure? The total was is about $30.”

She pauses for a moment, but she nods. I recall the saved order and she pays for his items. I bag them up, stick the receipt inside one of the bags, and move on to the next person in line.

The tired Lady has just left the register when the guy comes back with his card.

Me: “Your groceries are already paid for; the woman in front of you took care of it!”

I get a really weird look from this guy, like I told him I am keeping a tiny man in the register to organize the change, or something equally ridiculous.

Customer #2: “She did?”

I nod. He turns and looks at the guy behind him, then back at me.

Customer #2: “Well, I guess I’ll pay for him then.”

The dude behind him is not paying attention, and has only gotten a few items, so I just sort of blink.

Me: “Alright then.”

I finish scanning the items, and [Customer #2] sticks in his card, which is approved – guess he got his bank stuff worked out. About this time [Customer #3] realizes that I have just handed him a receipt.

Customer #2: “The lady ahead of me paid for mine, so I’m just passing it on. Have a nice day.”

I’m just sort of standing there at that point, waiting to see what will happen next. [Customer #3] thanks [Customer #2] and looks me dead in the eye.

Customer #3: “Well, I’m paying for hers then!”

This literally repeats three times down the line, and only stops because no one else entered the queue.

The last woman who had her groceries paid for by the person in front of her was a mom of two kids, and she was floored when the guy paid her $60 bill. She flipped when I told her she was the sixth person in a “pay-it-forward chain” and I had a great time telling my coworkers about it when I went on break

So thanks, Tired Lady. I hope you had a nice day after that, because you made a bigger impact than you realized.

Related:
Pay It Forward Is Ballooning

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