While I was walking out of North Adams Massachusetts, I decided to swing into the @subway to get one last meal before getting back to the trail. I was in line ordering my meal after setting my pack down by a table. Another patron saw my pack and asked if I was hiking the trail. I said I was. He asked how it was going and in which direction I was going. I told him cold and wet and that I was heading south. Then he went back to his meal with the gentleman his was sitting with.
Just before I was about to pay for my meal, he came up to the cashier and said that he would be paying for my meal. And despite my repeated attempts to thank him but defer the gesture, he won out and I allowed him to pay. As he was about to walk away we shook hands and exchanged names and I thanked him and he said “Semper Fi”. This of course sparked a conversation about where we served and when. He then asked me if I had ever heard of @warriorhike. I informed him that I had hiked with Warrior Hike in 2013 on the AT and he said that he was the Quartermaster at the local VFW Post. He hosted me and the other Warrior Hikers that year!! We had met before and it all immediately came back to me!! Just simply amazing. I could go on out about our interaction but there is more to this story.
After thanking him and saying goodbye I went over to my food and began to eat the meal, his gift to a supposed complete stranger. While sitting there eating, on older woman walked in. She looked cold and appeared as though maybe she could use a little magic herself. She was alone but ordering for two. I thought how nice it would be for her to receive a gift much like I had. I walked up behind her and told her the story of what had just happened to me and then went on to say that I would like to do the same for her. She nearly collapsed and proclaimed “There IS a God!! Man, I really needed this one today!! I can’t even tell you. Thank you. Thank you!!” She said. I could tell she wanted to hug me but I just put my arm around her and said, “I’m glad I was able to help you today ma’am.”
I can only imagine how excited she will be to give the other meal to her friend or child or whoever it was that it was for. She might have been homeless or just down on her luck that day, I don’t know. It doesn’t even matter, she was happy in that moment. Small acts of kindness add up. Restores your soul sometimes. Restores your faith in others. Restores your faith in this world.
After the woman left I went back to my meal and one of the Subway workers came out and told me that I made both of their days as well. She thanked me and I thought the very least I could do was to ask them if they wanted to help me inspire others with this story. So I got them together for this picture
I don’t have a picture of either of the people that were involved in this story but I’ve got to share it anyways. Not because I want praise but because I want you all to go out and do the same. Even if I only get a handful of you to do it, that’s a handful of people that might have their days made by YOU!! Pay it forward people. It can matter. It can matter more than you know.
Share it. Share your time. Share your food. Share your money. Share your love. Share your stuff. Be the inspiration and change you want to see in this world. It starts with you and me.