Stranger Ahead Of Her Wanted To Pay For The Meal.

Story by Erica Reinert

My morning started out normally. I snoozed twice, took care of my three cats, hurried to complete chores while gulping down lukewarm coffee, and then raced out the door for my mid-morning appointment.

By the time I finished my appointment, I was starving. I stopped at Moe’s Southwest Grill to order a burrito to take home and eat while working.

Since it was a little before noon, there was a line. A woman, who I soon learned was Marcella, was paying at the register. She asked the woman behind her in line if she would like a drink and then asked me. We both said no, and must have looked confused, because she said, ‘I got you.’ She proceeded to paid for both of our meals – even though we were strangers.

I asked Marcella why she did this, and she shared that someone once did something similar for her. The person asked that she pay it forward someday and she was making good on her promise.

Before I left, she gave me a warm hug and asked only that I do an act of kindness for a stranger when I could. I arrived home, but instead of working through lunch, I sat and reflected on her kindness.

Facebook/Erica Reinert

It reminded me of two things:

1. Focus on the good

Every time I smile at a stranger who looks away like I’m not there, I hold a door open for someone who doesn’t say thank you, or someone says something unkind to me, it chips away at my optimistic outlook. This was a reminder to focus on positive interactions instead of the negative ones.

2. If you’re able to perform a simple act of kindness, do it.

Marcella didn’t need to pay for my lunch. But she did, and it brightened my day. Not because I got to keep my $15, but because she was kind – with no expectations of receiving anything in return.

As I promised her, I plan on paying her kindness forward. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll make a small difference in someone else’s life, and the ripple effect will continue. Because that’s what being human is all about – being kind – even to a stranger.

Reminders that kindness and love exist can show up in the most unexpected places, even at Moe’s Southwest Grill.

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