It was as small, simple gesture. As the gentleman in front of me went to pay for his coffee this morning, he asked if, perhaps, they offered a military discount. The Barrista let him know that Starbucks doesn’t have programs like some other organizations offer for military. As he paid for his coffee and then threw a dollar in the tip jar, I asked him what part of the military. Army. He wondered if I was in the service since I’d bothered to ask him. No. I just have a very fond place in my heart for those who keep us safe.
It’s not what I did that is important…it was how this man responded…when I handed him a gift card and said, “Please enjoy your next couple of coffees on me. I so appreciate the sacrifice you and others make for our country. Thank you.” He reached out and took my hand gently and then gave me a hug. As he stepped back, his eyes were tearing. “You don’t know what that means to me. You’ve made my day.”
Now we both had tears in our eyes….mine because I couldn’t believe such a small thing could touch a tough military man so much. It reminded me of the power of those two words…thank you. And I know it doesn’t take a gift card to make a difference.
Try this experiment…the next time you see someone who willingly chooses to put their lives on the line to keep us safe…first responders, military…stop them and thank them. Watch a smile come to their face and notice the appreciation they have that you took a moment to acknowledge them. Try it with the parking attendant, the clerk at the grocery store, the teller at your bank, your loved ones. No reason to be stingy with “thank you”…it’s free.
Thursday, April 24th is National Pay It Forward Day. Consider paying it forward to military or first responder in your community. Imagine a world where each person made the effort to pay it forward, even with a simple acknowledgment, once a day? That is a world of greater kindness, compassion, awareness and connection. Who’s in?!