Do You Truly Know Who is in the Car Ahead of You?

Last Thursday, I woke up in a hurry. I wanted to get to my walking group and I had things to do. Important things.

If you asked me now, I could not begin to tell you what those important things were. Still, I was in a rush but somehow kept finding urgent things that required my attention before we left home. My husband reminded me if we didn’t get going, I would miss my chance to pick up a latte from Starbucks on the way. I hurried even more.

We drove into Starbucks behind an ‘older’ couple. They had difficulty finding the drive-through lane. My impatience and my judgement began ticking. They were slow in making their order. Tick tock. Then they decided to pay with their phone. Were they seriously kidding me? They were far too old to know how to pay with their phone. I feared (not for them but for me) that this would not go well. It didn’t. Their phone was handed back to them. They then fumbled for cash before finally pulling out a credit card. More waiting. More impatience. More of me wanting to scream. Actually, I may have screamed.

Then their food and drinks appeared….and appeared and appeared! That was a considerable amount of food for two people. I mentioned previously that they were seniors, right?

In what seemed like an eternity, their order was finally completed. Loaded down with large coffees, muffins, and who knows what else, they slowly drove away.

Finally, my turn!! I smugly handed the cashier my amount owed–in exact change. I was sure that I would delight the people in the car behind me with my ultra-efficient speed of transaction.

Instead of complimenting me on my incredible organization skills, the cashier refused my money.  Huh?

“The couple ahead of you paid for your order and wished you a wonderful day. They are regulars who do this quite often.”

My husband, who had been patiently putting up with my antics all along, used his best ‘I told you so’ voice to ask if I was a bit embarrassed.  ‘A bit embarrassed’  does not begin to describe my mortification.

A few moments later, my husband and I saw this couple pulled over on the side of the road as they arranged their drinks and snacks. We stopped to thank them, and I realized two things. 1.) They were absolutely lovely. 2) They were not much older than me!

Another important lesson sent my way.

Have you given or received a ‘pay it forward’ or ‘random act of kindness’ recently?



140 thoughts on “Do You Truly Know Who is in the Car Ahead of You?”

  1. Oh my gosh. I’m sending this out to the Twitter world. Pay it forward, indeed, in so many ways. This couple is teaching us all to Stop. Breathe. Be Patient. Be Kind. and Smile. Your post gave me a huge smile.
    And yes, I used to drive back and forth across the Golden Gate Bridge. Before the toll become automated; when I placed my hand out to give the dollar bills to the toll attendant, he said, “Oh, no. The car in front of you paid. The driver said to tell you, ‘Have a great day!’ ”
    And yes. I’ve done the same thing now several times. Paying it forward is a blast.


    1. Thanks, Pam – Such a simple act, and such a valuable lesson learned. I went back to the same Starbucks Drive-Through the following week and paid for the order of the person behind me. Hopefully, it helped to make a positive start to her day…and she will pay it forward somewhere, somehow as well. Thank you for tweeting this!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Barbara – Thank you so much for reading and commenting. The following week, I went back to the exact same spot, at the exact same time. I ‘paid it forward’ to the person behind me. I didn’t come across the same couple, but I love the chain that they started!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Donna, what a wonderful couple and how sweet that they often tend to do this! Many lessons for all of us in your post and a delightful post about your experience. Your writing is vivid and lively … felt as if I was there!


  3. got here via jill’s post…yes to the ‘normal’ coolness of the story! also, i find it extremely interesting that somehow you figured that ‘senior’ couple to be way more ‘senior’ than yourself…yikes I can see me doing that too easily, too!
    am now following!!!!


    1. Hi, Laura – Thank you so much for visiting. There were several parts of this story that were embarrassing to reflect upon. Me thinking that I’ve stayed younger when everyone else has grown old was just the start! 😀
      I visited your blog this afternoon. I greatly enjoyed your writing style.

      Liked by 1 person

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