Paying It Forward Is Never Declined

, , , | Right | May 11, 2016

(I work at a grocery store. I normally work in the attached big-name coffee shop, but today I had to cashier. Up until this point, it’s been relatively slow, so there hasn’t been a line. A woman comes up who seems to not be from around here; she has a very strong accent and it seems that English isn’t her first language. She’s not buying much, but it’s obvious that these are her groceries for the week. The transaction goes smoothly until it’s time to pay.)

Me: “All right, your total is [amount].”

(She inserts her card into the chip reader, and it’s declined.)

Woman: “Oh, I know what I did. Let me try again. I have two PINs and I used the wrong one.”

Me: “That’s just fine, ma’am.”

(She tries again, and her card is declined. She tries a few more times, and again, declined.)

Woman: “I don’t know what’s wrong! I’m using the right PIN but it won’t work!”

Me: “Here, let me see if it’s the machine or if you’re just pulling out your card too soon.”

(I go around to see the card reader, and there seems to be no issue with the machine, but her card is bent. I figure this is the issue but I don’t want to mention that. By this time, a line has formed of three or four people.)

Me: “Here, let’s try it once more.”

(It’s declined. The man behind her steps up, and gets her attention.)

Man: “Ma’am, do you mind?” *gestures to the card reader* “Like, you won’t be offended?”

Woman: “What?” *seems extremely confused*

Man: “I’d like to pay for your groceries.” *steps up and swipes his card without waiting for her response* “All I ask is that you pay it forward for someone else someday.”

(I don’t know who you are, sir, but you made my night better just with that little action. Thank you for helping out a woman in need without asking anything in return. You restored my faith in humanity.)

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