Paying If Forward....

Updated on July 28, 2011
C.F. asks from Plainville, MA
25 answers

This morning at the drive through waiting for my Much needed coffee in the line was a mini van, a small white car then me. The mini van pulls away and white car gets to the window, he takes his coffee and goes to pay for it and the girl at the window says "It's already paid for, the woman in front of you paid for your coffee! " He looked up ahead and the mini van was pulling out of the parking lot. He must have questioned the girl and she responded with "Nope she just asked to pay for your coffee, I asked her if she wanted me to say anything to you and she said no and smiled". He just sat there like he had No Clue what to do :-) Finally he handed her the money he had in his hand, that was going to pay for his coffee, and said ' ok a tip for you' "she said thank you very much !" I got up to the window and said that was So great ! does that happen often? She said once in a while it does.
I thought that was a Fantastic way to start the day :-) IT didn't even happen to me, but made me feel Good, know what I'm saying?!! !
I wish I wasn't using quarters today (hey sometimes you do what you gotta do for that coffee -even raid your change jar ! lol) for my coffee OR I would have paid for the person behind me! Dang it!!! LOL
Have you done this? Have you had it done to you ?? just made me Happy to see that happen!!!!

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So What Happened?

You Ladies ALL ROCK !!!!!!!!!!! I'm still smiling and like ridiculously almost 'tearing' up at your stories !! Keep up the kindness :-) xoxoxo

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

This is a silly "pay it forward" example, but it was fun. Yesterday I was floating down the river with my floating cooler bobbing along behind me, and I passed a couple of old guys sitting in the river on beach chairs. As I passed by them, I offered them each a beer from my cooler, which they happily accepted.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

What a nice story. I think I'll save it and re-read it next time I completely lose faith in the entire human race!


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

This happened to my mother in law. And once my son was using his money to buy a toy car. An older lady in front of him paid for his car. She said her grandchildren live out of state and she wanted to do this for my son. Very sweet!

8 moms found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

I had someone buy my McDonald's once, but he left a business card for me to call him...I guess that's not really the same thing is it? :)

My mom once bought some formula for a guy that didn't have enough money to cover it. She was standing in line behind him, and he was panicked because he really needed to get home with it, they were out. So, she just paid for it.

My dad has the best one. He pulled into a gas station and there was this teen aged girl (17-18) frantically looking through he car and bawling her eyes out. He watched her while he was filling up his own tank and said no one even looked at her twice. So when he was done, he came over and asked her what was wrong. Turns out she had just left an abusive boyfriend (her bruises were still showing) and was just trying to get home. She was looking for spare change to put gas in her car. My dad paid to fill her tank, and gave her some cash so she could have some money to eat on. He said all he could think about was what if this was my sister or me, and how he would want someone to help us. :)

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I remember being at Target and a young miltary family was behind me. While they were talking to someone I asked the clerk to ring up their items. When they turn to pay for it I was walking out the door. Their surprise! Imagine all they do for our country and they are thanking me.

Now that my husband is unemployed with no unemployment or food stamps - long story. I may not be able to buy others things, but I can let them go in front of me in line at the store.

Great story.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I love it!! One afternoon when I was driving home from work listening to my christain music and praising GOD, I got an urge that I couldn't shake to pay for some gas for someone. I stopped at the convenience store by my house and went inside. I was not sure how to do it and kept praying asking GOD to help me do this right. I looked around at the pumps and saw a woman coming in with cash in hand. I was in line at the cash register and told the woman behind the counter to add $10 cash to the lady coming in the door and stepped aside. The lady came to pay for her gas and the women behind the counter froze. She looked over at me and back to the lady. I stepped up and told her I was adding $10 to her purchase. I was trying not to show how nervous I was. The lady almost started crying and asked me why. I said I didn't know I just felt lead by GOD to do it. I hugged her and walked out.
It was the BEST FEELING!! I haven't told that many people that I did that. It was great!
Good Luck and GOD BLESS!!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

Wonderful! Love it!
When I lived in Florida, I sometimes would pay peoples tolls to go on our
Sunshine Skyway bridge. It would be fun to see them look around to see who paid their toll.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I have done it many times. Mainly when downtown and I am behind a mom who is using "food stamps/card" that does not have enough points for everything. If I see her take anything health out I ask if it would be ok if I paid the remainder. Sometimes they decline but usually they will look at me with teary eyes, say thank you and give me a big hug. Then I ask if they want to join us (daughter & I) at McD's for a treat, kids get ice cream moms usually get coffee, if it is lunch time I treat lunch :)

When at bars I have had drinks paid for me, two things happening; with friends we all take turns paying for the beer pitcher or there are other motives if from a random man.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I LOVE paying it forward, and I love teaching my kids to do the same. Something as simple as, today, helping an overweight elderly person get her groceries in the car (we do this often), spurred a movement of other people helping each other. It's awesome to watch the dominos fall into place :)

If I have to pay with paper money at the tollbooth, I always pay for the person behind me, just because ;)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I've never had it done to me, but my sister and her husband do it every once in awhile at fast food restaurants, I always think it's so kind of them.
It's not such a bad world we live in???

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

This made me smile... no I've never paid for a strangers fast food meal, but I try to do a lot with volunteering and spending my time with others more - since I don't have the extra money to pay for anyone else's stuff.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

What a nice story and what a good idea! Thanks for sharing :-)

I have actually been the one to be payed on many occasions, when I was a visiting graduate student. My professor at the time paid students' bills when we went out for lunch or dinner. When I told her I felt bad that I did not contribute at all ever, she said when she was a student this is what her professor did for her, and now she is paying back. She told me I would pay back when I am no longer a student, by paying for students. I thought this was a wonderful tradition! I know money is so tight when you are a student, so now I pay forward (or back :-) to students around me :-)))

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

While I haven't done that in a fast food line we do occasionally do it at toll booths. We figure driving tends to be stressful and what a nice surprise to finally reach the toll booth and find out yours has already been paid :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

One time in the early rougher years of my marriage my husband and I had split. I was moving into a new apartment and the kids and I were at Dollar General loading up the cart with towels, trash-bags, and all the little odds and ends that you need when you set up a new place. I got up to the counter and the lady rang it up and said it was taken care of. One of my current daycare moms was in the store and I didn't even know she was in there. She had pre-arranged to pay for it. But I don't know how she pulled that off since she didn't know how much I would put in my cart. Maybe she left a blank check? That always left an impression on me and I've wanted to do something similar. I just don't know how she managed it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

That gives me warm fuzzies. I'm going to do that the next time I'm in the driv-thru for Starbucks. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I did that recently going through an Arbys drive through. I happened to have cash on me, which I hardly ever do. I asked the cashier what the total of the car behind me was. I think it was around $7. I handed her the money. The lady behind me honked and waved as I was pulling away. I love doing that kind of stuff.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Good morning Xine! I love paying it forward whenever I can... I'm LOVE helping people less fortunate than me by giving, giving, giving w/o ever wanting or expecting anything back.

I also do some other things as well... I often let people get in front of me (while waiting in line) if I see that they don't have an overflowing cart, or those who are w/children who are getting a little antsy, or if someone looks like they're in an absolute hurry. (lol)

I also never hesitate to give (some little bit) to those waiting at an expressway off ramp w/a sign or cup and, or those people hovering outside department stores. I feel if they can do that all day long, I don't care what they do w/the measly dollar or change I give... I don't care if they make a fortune in a day by standing out there w/their hand out! I think it takes a lot out of a person to #1, "Ask for money" and #2, stand there all day in the elements just looking for handouts; that in itself is WORK to me!!! Plus, my little donation didn't make or break me; therefore, I definitely don't mind shelling it out... I would hope someone would help me or my family and/or friends if we were ever in NEED! (Sometimes mental disabilities and/or disorders play havoc in peoples lives... who are WE to judge, ya know!?)

Lastly, I just love seeing the look on a person's face when I GIVE (without the expectation of something back) ~ It's the best feeling in the world. Plus, you never know... when you are helping someone, you might actually be helping God! After all, HE comes in many forms and faces ~~~

It doesn't matter "how" you pay it forward as long as you try to be considerate and/or caring of others around you w/o an expectation of getting something in return.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I love it when i see stuff like that............i think ill treat the nest person in the drive through i see.....hmmm now i just have to actually GO to a drive through.

If people payed it forward more on the road there would be a lot less accidents and road rage.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Thanks for sharing such a nice story.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I may be poor myself.. getting something like coffee out is beyond my means but I do try to do what I can for others. On a regular basis my kids go through their stuff and we giveaway toys/ clothes etc that are in good shape that they don't use or fit in. Plus we keep a case of water in the minivan and have stopped to give people water or food that are standing with signs. Also run a mini pet shelter for animals that people drop off cause can't forget the furrbabies

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

It happened to me once at a Starbucks and i was totally confused but happy. I regret not paying for the person behind me too - just didn't think about it until we drove away.

And last night i got a call from the drop in daycare place we use (all our family lives out of state so this is the only place we can take our kids and get a night out) and they said they had a customer that wanted to donate 7.5 hours of babysitting and they picked us!! I was beyond thrilled - it's normally $8/hr so this is almost $60 worth of free care!!! Love it love it love it

I'm the type that tries to help out whenever I can - whoever needs it - so i like to think karma comes full circle.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

This is VERY popular at the Starbucks near my house in IL. I think it is FANTASTIC!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have done something like this before - bought a beer on an airplane for a soldier on his way home on leave from Afghanistan. Paid for groceries for someone in front of me who didn't have enough. Gave food to homeless people. Etc. I haven't done anything like that in a while. It's funny that you should post this now. I just watched *Pay it Forward* (again) yesterday. And was re-inspired to do things like that. I am now doubly re-inspired! :D Thanks!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We've done it on occasion when traveling on the toll roads and we have to pay cash. Actually it might be a bit cheaper then a cup of coffee, depending on the toll booth! but still, it leaves the same "happy" feeling. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Your post makes me want to do this next trip. But how do you know if the guy behind you is buying just one coffee? Or if they're buying $10 worth of burgers? I have never had this happen to me, nor have I done it to anyone else. Have you seen the movie "Pay It Forward?" Sweet, sad.

1 mom found this helpful
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