Paying It Forward

One afternoon last month, the boys and I pulled up to the Starbucks window, where we found out that the vehicle in front of us had totally paid for our order.

I was shocked.

Mostly because it wasn’t just a simple latte that the driver in the Suburban with the squealing fan belt (that would be me) was ordering.  It was SCHOOL’S OUT AND I HAVEN’T EATEN SINCE LUNCH AND I WOULD LIKE TO ORDER THE LEFT HALF OF THE FOOD SECTION OF THE MENU, PLEASE.  The boy wanted a frappuccino and some coffee cake, after I’d assured him that he wasn’t getting THREE snack items; Thing 2 wanted a chocolate cake pop.  I was having chai tea, because I’m predictable.

Our bill was in the double digits, because the boys weren’t going to last until dinner time without fainting from hunger.

And the car in front of us paid for our order.

All of it.

Even the cake pop and the coffee cake and the extra caramel sauce drizzled over the boy’s frappuccino.

We didn’t know the car in front of us; I’m guessing that this was simply the good deed of a stranger, and it touched my heart.  I would have paid for the car behind me to “pay it forward,” as the saying goes, but listen:  There was no one behind us.  No one else had gotten in line at the drive thru after we had, to get a little late-afternoon caffeine fix.

Then, at the first of December, the boy took the garbage out one night in the dark.  He came back inside, carrying a beautiful Christmas wreath, and he said, “Hey!  This was propped up against our front door.”

A Secret Santa had struck our neighborhood and gifted us with a little Christmas cheer for our patio.

IMG_5435My first guess was our neighbors, who like to go hog-wild with their outdoor lights and tend to raise an eyebrow at THAT YELLOW HOUSE THAT HAS NEVER PUT UP A SINGLE STRAND OF OUTDOOR LIGHTS IN ALL THE YEARS THEY’VE LIVED HERE.  We bring the Christmas cheer level down in our cul de sac, apparently, but my OCD personality likes to strip the house of Christmas decorations on December 26th, every single year, and I never want to have to go outside in the cold to pull colored lightbulbs off the gutters.

Bless me.

My second guess for the surprise wreath was a friend of mine, whose children sold wreaths like this for a fundraiser.  I was pretty smug in my knowing, because YES!  If it wasn’t the neighbors who double their electrical bill with outdoor lighting every December, then it was Missi.

Missi denied it.  In fact, she seemed genuinely surprised that I’d asked her such a question.  Genuinely surprised enough that I had to scratch her name off my two-person list of suspects.

And THAT, people, leaves me completely stumped.

I have no idea who blessed us with this gorgeous wreath, that’s bedecked with pine cones, but we’re loving it.  And in the loving of it… and with the smiles that were brought to our faces when a total stranger bought us our afternoon beverages and snacks at Starbucks… we’re planning to bless someone with a Christmas surprise of some kind, too.  The boys and I are putting our heads together, to come up with a fun idea for something that can be left by a front door.

We’ll keep this GIVING BALL rolling, and we’ll do it with happy hearts.  It’s our honor to bless someone else, after we’ve been gifted with such lovely, surprise treats.

Merry Monday, people.


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