The woman in front of me kindly paid for my coffee at Starbucks yesterday.
“The car in front of you paid for your drink,” the Drive Thru barista said matter-of-factly, while handing me my caramel latte. “The car in front of her paid for hers.”
Later that evening, I met a girlfriend for dinner at Chick-Fil-A. As I loaded the kids into the minivan, I heard the Drive Thru attendant – not far from my car – say to the customer at the window, “The car in front of you paid for you.”
I smiled. Tis’ the season to do random acts of kindness.
Last Christmas season, Matt and I were more organized with these sorts of random acts. We made a list, spent evenings like elves in the night spreading Christmas cheer — and yes, paid for the meals of cars behind us a couple of times. But this year, we haven’t been as planned — so I’ve challenged myself to a different kind of charity project. One that isn’t always as immediately rewarding.
I’ve realized that, for me, drive-thru charity is pretty easy. Convenient and comfortable, I pay, I drive away, I feel good, everyone’s happy. (And that’s a special thing — I certainly don’t want to take away from that.)
But when it comes to the virtue of charity, I’ve found that I have plenty of opportunities to give in powerful ways, every day: being more patient with my children — giving my husband the benefit of the doubt — not assuming I always know the best way — being flexible to others even if I feel inconvenienced — taking advice humbly.
Random acts of kindness are wonderful — but this year, I’m also devoting myself to purposeful acts of kindness. The ones that are less about driving through – and that are more about changing within.