October 4 12

I stuffed the giant ginger molasses cookie into my mouth and hopped out of the car. I moseyed over to the parking machine and started to check every single pocket of my purse for some change. I could have used a credit card, of course, but I knew I had at least the $4 I needed in nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Him: Excuse me, you haven’t paid yet, have you?

Me: ?

Him: Don’t use that machine!

Me: Ohmigosh, is it broken?

Him: No. It’s just that I paid the $4 for parking and I’m on my way out. Take this pass. It’s good until 8pm tonight.

Me: Really?

Him: Of course, it’s all yours.

Me: Thank you so very much. This may have just made my week.

And it had. My month, probably.

I mean, it was four dollars. It was money I was going to shell out in the coins I was going to find on my person or stuck to the bottom of my purse. It wasn’t about the money—it was about the gesture. It was so completely unnecessary. Most people, after leaving their appointment, would get into their car and drive away, maybe grab a coffee. Instead, this perfect stranger flagged me down, and handed over the pass. And I haven’t been able to stop smiling since. There is good in this world, there really is.

I walked out of my appointment in a bit of a haze. I had answered at least a thousand questions. I had at least a thousand of my own.

I had pages upon pages of literature about my newly-minted tree nut allergy. I had a brand-new epipen, complete with video instructions of what should happen in case of anaphylaxis. I had a list of nuts to avoid—almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, walnuts. I had a list of fruit to avoid—apples, cherries, peaches, pears. I had a list of animals to avoid—cats…and my dog. I had an arm full of itchy-as-hell welts.

I am now a statistic.


I will never again have pecan pie.

I will never again be able to eat in a restaurant without asking questions, without worry.

I will be a label reader.

I stuffed all my literature into my purse and hopped into my car. I grabbed my parking pass.

Me: Excuse me, you haven’t paid yet, have you?

Her: No…I’m just trying to find some change.

Me: Here, take my pass. It’s good until 8pm tonight.

Her: Are you sure?

Me: Of course! I’m just paying it forward. Someone did the same for me this morning.

Her: Thank you so much. THANK YOU. Truly.

And then I got into my car, drove off, grabbed a coffee, and paid for the person behind me in the drive-thru.

Because it was just that kind of a day, the Haley Joel Osment kind.

Anyone need twelve containers of wasabi & soy almonds?

  1. I love how a small act of kindness can transform a day! I need to remind myself to do those more often, since I know how good it feels to be on the receiving end.


    ali replied on

    Both ends feel really good, yanno?

    Totally can transform a day. It’s awesome.


    Comment by jackson on October 4, 2012
  2. The other day I paid for the coffee of the person in front of me at the cafeteria (she couldn’t find her wallet). It felt good. Two days later was out walking and found $10 lying on the ground in front of me. No one around. Karma. I paid for coffee for my friends later that day.


    Comment by Jane on October 4, 2012
  3. That is awesome! I need to do that more often! It’s such a small thing that goes such a long way!

    Also, don’t like a bunch of the teas you love have nuts in them?????? THE HORROR!!!


    Comment by Kristabella on October 4, 2012
  4. So glad there was some greatness to your day, even with finding out you can no longer eat nuts! The horror…and your poor husband ;) Come on, you knew that joke was just waiting to be said.


    Comment by Gamanda on October 4, 2012
  5. Sucks .. what were your symptoms for it to be so bad now that you need an epipen? that is too bad! Tell me you can still have your step-moms reeses?!?!

    BTW .. how do you pay for the guy behind you .. wait until they’ve done their order and just pay at the wicket? Cool .. I should try that sometime. Imagine me doing it for the first time and it’s an order of 8 coffees and 2 dozens donuts lol.


    alimartell replied on

    I actually had two reactions to almonds…both of them were tongue and throat swelling and, like, full feeling in both…hard to swallow etc.

    we are still not confident that peanuts are okay. BAAAAAH.

    I usually just say…I’d like to pay for the person behind me and they just add it to my costs.


    Comment by Sarah on October 5, 2012
  6. Sorry about the allergy! That sucks. I always pay the parking ticket forward – if there’s no one around, I stick it in the machine if there’s time left so the next person can just grab it. It’ so easy but it makes someones day!


    Comment by Sara on October 5, 2012
  7. I’ve done that before, with the parking pass. I love the look on people’s faces.

    Sorry to hear about the allergies – life changing, that.


    Comment by kootnygirl on October 5, 2012
  8. I love when people do that – and I love when I get to pay it forward too. :)

    Lovely post indeed. And I liked it on FB. And I am gonna tweet it. Cause I am gonna keep this thing going…


    Comment by Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) on October 6, 2012

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