Pay It Forward Goes Further Than Forward

, , , , , | Hopeless | November 7, 2017

I worked at a well-known chicken chain for a few years. Said chain pays above minimum wage, so we don’t take tips. Said chain also has a strong commitment to those in the military.

I am on front register one lunch time with a few of my coworkers. A family comes through my coworker’s register, and after he rings them up, the dad shows his military ID. Technically, we’re only supposed to do the half-off amount for the service member only, not the whole family, but my coworker gives it to the whole family, as it’s easier than canceling the dad’s meal and ringing it up by itself.

The family is stunned, and tries to tip him the balance, about $15. He refuses, because we’re not allowed to take tips. So, they give it to him to use for the next person who comes to that till.

The next person’s order is something around $8. As I’m ringing up another customer, I hear my coworker say, “Your total is $8, but the people ahead of you left enough money to pay for your order.”

“Really? In that case, take $15 and use it for the next person.”

It goes on like this for probably the better part of an hour. Over and over and over throughout lunch, I hear my coworker say, “The people in front of you left enough money to cover your food.” There must have been at least 30 orders before people stopped putting enough money in to keep it going, and the pot ran out.

After the lunch rush was over, my coworker and I looked at each other and agreed that that was one of the coolest things we had ever seen. Someday, when I am no longer dealing with student loans and such, I’d like to be able to start a chain like that.

Food Banked That Money Immediately

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 21, 2017

The store where I work is doing a promotion where one customer per day gets up to $100 dollars worth of free groceries. It’s a completely random process, and they aren’t doing a great job of advertising it, so most of the people who are getting free groceries have no idea that could happen.

Today is the first day that I have been the cashier for a winner. He’s a regular at my store, and always polite. So, he wins, and leaves. A few minutes later, though, he comes back with more groceries, and when I comment that he is back so soon he says that since he doesn’t have to spend that money on his family’s groceries, he is spending the same amount he would have spent on his family — for his church’s food bank. $80 worth of groceries.

I am personally grateful for his kindness and thoughtfulness, especially since sometimes my family has to go to the food bank.

Drive It Forward

, , , | Hopeless | May 26, 2017

It is Friday afternoon and I have just gotten off school. My dad and I are on our way to pick up my mom from work before we go home. My dad decides to stop at the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant to buy me a strawberry and banana smoothie, since it is a hot day.

I am very tired as this week I was catching up on sleep from an AP exam I had the past Friday, I had an AP, baseball games, and started my new job.

The line at the drive-thru is really long and it is the type of drive-thru where it starts as two lanes then merges into one. My dad orders and we start to try to merge when this lady from the second lane pulls up and cuts in front of us. My dad and I are both upset as we are running late but we don’t do anything.

We get to pay when the cashier tells us that the lady who cut us off felt bad as she was in a hurry so she bought my smoothie. We decided to continue the chain and bought the order for the person behind us.

Ma’am, if you are out there, reading this, you not only restored my faith in humanity but you gave me a great ending to an exhausting week.

Extreme Pay It Forward: Home Edition

| WA, USA | Hopeless | January 20, 2017

A couple friends of mine just moved out together after living with a friend of a friend whose relationship with them had deteriorated over time. When they moved out, they realized they’d mostly been using their former roommates household items, and only had very few themselves.

After helping them move into their new apartment, which has depleted almost all their combined checking and savings, I take them to a big box store so they can buy their most necessary necessities. They grab a cart for themselves, but I also grab one as well. As we go up and down the aisles, I ask them things like, ‘do you have a trash can? Paper towels? A broom?’ and when they reply no, I grab one and put it in my cart. We also go by the grocery section, and I pick up a bunch of boxes of mac and cheese and some large packages of chicken breasts, a jug of milk, and a few other grocery items.

When we get to the checkout stand, I take a separate aisle, and as they wonder what I’m doing, I tell them I’m paying for all the things in my cart. They look at me like they can’t believe it. They try to refuse, but I tell them I am just paying it forward, after my mother helped me out the same way when I moved out on my own, and that they should do the same someday in their future when an opportunity arose.

They gave me a big hug and promised me lots of future home-baked treats, which I couldn’t refuse.

Time For A Christmas Change

, | USA | Hopeless | December 29, 2016

(In line at a popular chain coffee shop, I can overhear the cashier telling customers that the previous customer has paid for their drinks – “pay it forward” – and each customer is then paying for the next customer. The lady in front of me makes her order, and then it comes time to pay.)

Cashier: “The customers are doing ‘Pay It Forward’ today. Your drink has been paid for by the last customer!

Lady: “Oh, that’s so nice! Thank you!” *leaves*

Cashier: *to me* “Wow. I… I’m so sorry. Everyone else has carried this on.”

Me: “No problem. I’ll take a—”

(I try to hand the cashier a $5 but she holds out her hand.)

Cashier: “Wait, I might be able to make it from the change pot.”

(She takes the cup that she’s been dropping odd change into, and proceeds to count out small change. There is just enough for my drink.)

Cashier: *with a huge smile* “There! Your drink has been paid for!”

Me: “Thank you! Here, pay it forward.” *I hand her the $5 and she puts it into the change pot for the next customer*

Cashier: “Thank you SO much! Happy holidays!”

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