“There are two ways to live your life. One, as though nothing is a miracle. The other, as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
Someone I don’t know and can’t thank bought me lunch yesterday.
My friend and co-worker was kind enough to bring lunch to me at the office when I had work piled up and couldn’t get away. The driver in the car in front of her at the drive-through pickup window paid for one of our meals.
She should have accepted the generous act for herself. But she chose to let my order be the gift.
So, I kind of felt like two people bought me lunch when she brought me food and returned all my money.
So many little good things like this have been happening to me lately.
And they serve as an important reminder to care about others.
To focus on the good and beauty of humanity, instead of all the horribleness.
It’s so easy to find and focus on the shit.
Newspapers, magazines and television practically scream it at us.
The miracles are more subtle. All the good.
But it’s there.
If you just look closer.
Actually, There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch
Cynicism never made much sense to me.
Because every cynic could prove themselves wrong simply by displaying unconditional generosity just one time.
During my first summer interning at a daily newspaper, I was asked to cover a Zig Ziglar talk. Ziglar died last year after years of motivational speaking and training and writing bestsellers.
When I was 20, I wasn’t ready for what he had to say.
I just didn’t get it.
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want,” Ziglar said. Over and over again, he said it.
That wasn’t registering with me 14 years ago. I wasn’t ready.
Remember when you were a little kid, experiencing the magic of Christmas morning? Gifts, gifts, and more gifts? And you just celebrated the greed and excess because you were a little heathen child narcissist shithead like me?
And you’d hear some well-meaning adult—maybe one of your parents—say something like: “It’s so much better to give than receive.”
And you’d nod in agreement, but in your head, you were like: Yeah, right, dipshit. I got a Lite-Brite and a Nintendo and a new bike. Santa hooked me up. Because I was so freaking good this year. Have fun giving shit away, though!
But then you got older.
And Santa stopped bringing you toys because you weren’t so good this year.
But then you gave a gift to someone else.
And all the sudden your parents don’t sound so silly anymore. Ziglar’s message starts to seem a little less crazy.
That feeling inside of you, telling you all you need to know about the power of giving.
The power of helping people. Even in the smallest of ways.
Listen. Smile. Care. Try.
You’ll change the world if you do.
The Drive-Thru Difference
So apparently this is a thing.
A quick Google search taught me that many radio stations encourage listeners to be part of the Drive-Thru Difference, both to give, and to call or write the radio station with stories just like this one.
Where someone—without agenda—performed an intentional act of kindness.
Driver A pulls into Starbucks. Buys her coffee and pays for the driver behind her as well.
Driver B gets to the window. Learns that the stranger in front of him paid for his coffee this morning. He smiles. His day just started off beautifully. He doesn’t hesitate to pay for the order for Driver C behind him.
It’s a chain reaction of smiles. Of positivity. Of good deeds. And it sometimes goes on and on and on.
And it only took one. Just one thoughtful person at a drive-through window.
The miracle of generosity.
When my friend got back to the office with lunch, she handed me a piece of paper the checkout window person had handed her.
It was a note from the person I wish I could thank.
“You don’t know me, but I’ve just paid for your order. Paying for someone’s order is a simple way to brighten someone’s day. Hopefully it brightens yours. Maybe you’ll feel like doing it for someone else.
Hope you have a great day!
— The stranger in the car ahead of you.”
What do you mean one person can’t make a difference?
What do you mean you can’t?
It’s out there. The good.
If we only look closer.
Only listen harder.