Maybe not a new trend but I seem to hear about it more and more lately. You stand in line for coffee and find out the dark haired lady in front of you paid for your coffee. So, you in turn pay for the nineteen year-old behind you who is waiting patiently while staring intently at his phone. And then he pays for the man in the suit behind him…and so on and so on and so on.
Until one person says, “um, thank you very much” and takes his/her free double mocha latte and walks out with their free cup of coffee, smiling all the way to work or school.
Meanwhile, everyone is staring at the person as if he/she walked in with a pro-Hitler t-shirt.
Okay, so let me first say this has never happened to me in line for coffee, probably because I am seldom in line for coffee, and to be honest I have never been the first to start the ball rolling.
But I seem to have a bit of a problem with this whole Paying it Forward thing.
Wait. Hear me out before you slam your laptop shut.
You find out your coffee or hamburger or pizza was paid for and then you are somewhat guilted into doing the same for the people behind you. But to what benefit is it, really, that you were given a free coffeeburgerpizza and then you still pay for the person behind you? Call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first) but I don’t see the graciousness here at all. The only person who really benefits from that free coffeeburgerpizza is the last person who walks out amidst stares and glares and most likely achieves the complete opposite since the person will most likely not feel happy and smiley but instead feel like the biggest piece of shit. And certainly this was not the intention of the first person who started the ball rolling in the first place…
I’m not saying let’s all be self-centered assholes (there are plenty of those already) but I think it would be better to truly, un-lazily, pay it forward. Okay, so let’s say you were in line for coffee and the woman in front of you paid for it. Thank you very, very much. You smile all day. You are still happy and feeling the spirit of paying it forward when you go to the dry cleaners and decide to pay for the people behind you. Or when you are in line for your pizza dinner and you buy a pie for the family behind you. Or if you must continue down this unhealthy fast food eating (hey, it’s your life) why not buy the car behind you a bag of burgers?
That seems a better way to pay it forward.