TODAY’S FORECAST: Warmed
The other day I was out doing some Christmas shopping and had planned my next stop at the grocery store to get a lengthy list of items our family needed for the week. My stomach was growling. I realized it was close to lunchtime and decided to stop off for a quick bite at the Wendy’s across the street from the grocery store before beginning my trek. I was tired from the morning running around and I thought this would be a good way to restore my energy with some lunch and some time off my feet. Little did I know that it was not only my own energy I would restore.
When I walked in, I was the only one in line because it was just a bit after 11:00, still a little early for the work crowds. The cashier behind the counter was a trainee and his trainer stood dutifully beside him. They both seemed unenthused, bracing themselves for the lunchtime rush I imagine. I ordered a baked potato, a small chili and a drink. My total was $5.40 so the cashier handed me back $14.60 in change. On a complete whim, I looked at him and said, “I’m going to give this change back to you. With it I want you to buy as many lunches as it can for the next couple customers.”
He nodded politely as I handed him back the money, looked up at me surprised and said, “What?”
I explained what I wanted again, asked him to wish those people who it bought lunch for a “Merry Christmas.”
He looked at his trainer, then back at me and said. “Are you sure?”
I said, “A lot of people in my life have done special things like this for my family and I, it’s my Christmas gift to them.” He smiled. The trainer next to him nodded and smiled. It made me smile.
Just as I was walking away with my tray to sit down, a guy came in, had ordered his lunch and had been told that it had been paid for. I tried to sneak away quickly but they told him who I was before I could object. He smiled and said, Thank you.”
I said, “You’re welcome, just “pay it forward” sometime for someone else, Merry Christmas.”
He said, “I will, Merry Christmas,” and I might have imagined it, but I think he went back out the door with a little more spring in his step.
I sat down at a table by the window and the next person came up to the counter and ordered his meal. The cashier looked out at the dining room at me and I held my finger up to my lips to indicate it was a secret, that I didn’t want my identity to be revealed. He got it.
Over the course of eating my lunch, I could tell I had created a buzz behind the counter. Managers were coming out to the cashier to have him retell the story. It was as if the Wendy’s staff had been given a jolt of new energy. Employees were peeking out into the dining room through the small window on the door leading from the kitchen to the dining room to see who was doing the giving. Obviously, my cashier friend and his cohort hadn’t given my secret away. By the time I left, it was electric in there. You could just feel it. Granted the lunchtime work crowds had gathered, so it was busier, but there was just something different about that place. I gathered up my tray, threw my trash away and walked out.
No, the crowds didn’t part and angels didn’t sing. There were no stories on the local news about the “secret” giver. It wasn’t about that at all, it was the smile and energy that I carried in my own heart all day. It was like being a kid again and picking out that “perfect” gift for that special loved one and hardly being able to contain yourself as it was being unwrapped.
Do me a favor, if you haven’t ever had the experience to be a “secret Santa,”pay it forward,” “gift someone” or perform an “act of random kindness” and can right now, don’t delay. The energy that comes from that kind of giving doesn’t come naturally, it can only be heaven-sent! It may just be the best gift you get all season. God bless!