By Sue Cook
I absolutely, positively, emphatically am not a Monday kind of gal. I am also not a morning person. Monday mornings are my Kobayashi Maru of the week. So, one Monday morning as I was waiting in a McDonalds’ drive-thru, I thought that maybe a Diet Coke would help me defeat the evil day.
Suddenly I heard yelling. I rolled up the window quickly to mind my own business, but my mind went into overdrive. Would paying for their food/drink lift their mood? Why not give it a try and see!
I looked behind me at the long line of cars. Due to money constraints, I couldn’t cover them all, but I could bring a little joy to the driver behind me.
The cashier was surprised when I asked about the total for the other car. I paid the bill, and drove on. It made me feel brighter immediately. Before I could reach the other window, a horn started to blow behind me, people waving. How cool! They were happy, and so was I. It was Monday, and I was smiling. What kind of spell had I fallen under?
That one act of “paying it forward” started a habit of paying for random people’s drive-thru bills periodically. It was fun!
Best of all, my old nemesis was conquered. Mornings were joyful. Then one day, to my surprise, I was told that somebody had paid my drive-thru bill. Mind blown! My mood lifted instantly. I honked my horn, and waved. They did the same and drove on. I paid it forward, they paid it backwards. It made me think of the ebb and flow of life. Our lives flowed a bit easier that day.
I decided to up my game just a bit, thinking, What about the people working the drive-thru? That is a tough job, especially in the mornings. Sometimes they are not treated with the respect they deserve.
I like to make bracelets. Crystal bracelets, stone bracelets, pony bead bracelets are all fair game. I decided to make pony bead bracelets by the score and wear them as I went through the drive-thru.
I asked the person waiting on me if they would like a bracelet.
Everybody wanted bracelets to the point they started making requests. Nothing expensive or fancy.
These inexpensive gifts became a positive light in their day.
I was flabbergasted that these bracelets had such an impact on their lives. Not only did I pay it forward, I paid it sideways. These were pony bead bracelets. It’s amazing how something so small – a pony bead bracelet or gift of coffee – can brighten someone’s day, lifting them out of the mire of an exhausting life.
Sadly, when COVID started, the pony bead bracelets had to go by the wayside. Nobody was allowed to accept anything through the drive-thru window. I still paid for other people’s food, however. But for a brief moment I got a chance to see what it was like to be Santa.
Such a positive influence on me: The power of a pony bead.
Never underestimate the smallest act of kindness, especially when Diet Coke might be attached.
Sue Cook lives in Freeport, Illinois with her husband Randy and two dogs. Her passions include assistance dogs, rescue dogs, music, acting, theater, poetry, and Doctor Who. She’s been in both film and theater and is a regular cast member of the podcast Doctor Who’s Line is it….Anyway? Sue is an advocate for the use of Service Dogs to assist their disabled handlers to maintain their independence. Quigley’s Quest, her first children’s book, addresses how a dog becomes a Service Dog.