Thursday, March 28, 2013

Anonymous Was Here


I bought lunch for the person behind me in the McDonald's drive-thru on Tuesday.
Have you ever done that?
It's fun.  If you haven't done that yet, you need to try it.  It isn't expensive, and hopefully it makes someone's day just a bit brighter!
Of course, you won't know how it made it brighter or whose day you made shinier...but you can just imagine the happy, little surprise it must have been to the recipient!

My husband and I make a sporadic, totally random habit of paying someone's bill at a restaurant - sometimes it's a young couple, sometimes an older couple, sometimes it's a parent with a child.  It's funny, but my husband and I are on the same wavelength here.  We both seem to get the idea at the same time and for the same person or people.  We don't even do it that often.  It's just something that suddenly bubbles up inside of us, and we have to do it. We'll just smile at each other, with a "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" look.

Our meal gifting is always anonymous.  We hardly ever get to see the recipient's reaction...except for one time.  We were at a restaurant waiting to be seated and there were a couple of ladies "from away" (summer visitors) who were also waiting.  Though they were there before us, the hostess called us first.  As I went up to ask if she had made a mistake, one of the ladies spoke up and abruptly insisted that they were next.  My mouth just dropped open.

We paid for their meal, I think originally to apologize anonymously for the wrong they thought they'd been done, and to help them "lighten up".  We then watched as they got upset with the waitress because she wouldn't take their credit card - obviously not listening to "It's already been paid".  Life is tough when you have to be angry all the time and assume the negative.  After a bit more discussion, the waitress then pointed us out.  We were uncomfortable that she had done that, but it was kind of nice to be thanked.  They told us that this was the nicest thing that had happened the whole time in Maine.  (There was something about that, that was sad to me...I can't believe that there wasn't something else pleasant that happened here....but I digress as I often do...)

We got to see how it can change an outlook, even it if was just for a bit.
And it gave us something to smile about, too.
Our goal was accomplished. 

21 comments:

  1. I've done it once or twice a long time ago, but have forgotten about it, Donna. I did it in a line at a fast-food restaurant, and it was fun and I kept it anonymous too. How great that you and your husband are in on it-fun to enjoy together!

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    1. I've had fun with it on my own, too! I don't know why it just tickles me to do this. Guess it's the imagining their reactions.

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  2. What a special gift you are giving to others. I have been the beneficiary of several random acts of kindness (not restaurant bills, but other things) and I can't even tell you how much it has meant. It always seems to come exactly when I need a lift! Thanks for putting a little goodness out into the world.

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    1. The idea for us came 40 years ago, when I was out at a restaurant with my husband's family - there were lots of us - and a man at a nearby table picked up the entire tab because it pleased him so much to see a happy family out enjoying a meal together. It was such a wonderful experience - we just feel the need to carry it on.

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  3. I haven't tried it, but it sounds like fun! How do you know what the next person's bill will be, though?

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    1. We ask our waitress to discretely bring us their bill. We never really know the total until we've committed. Sometimes we've even told the waitress to add a dessert!

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    2. Oh, and if I'm in the drive-thru, when you are paying for yours, I just tell them I'm paying for the car behind me. I love it when I see it's a mom and some kids!

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  4. What a great way to brighten someone's day or change their attitude!

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    1. It's just a tiny tweak to a day that could potentially make a huge difference to someone.

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  5. What fun! I will have to try this someday. I do love to surprise people, usually I know them, but this would be a fun twist.

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    1. I've always liked being sneaky...in a good way!

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  6. I love doing this and have been the recipient, which is equally amazing! Keep it going!

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  7. I have done the same thing in the drive thru...but never at a sit down restaurant. I think we will have to try that next time. I like it being anonymous...and how you said it is fun to imagine their reaction. I wonder how much you changed those two (visitors) lives...even a little. Maybe a lesson on seeing the positive instead of looking at the negative. You gave me a goal now...and I intend to do these random acts of kindness more often now.
    Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

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    1. You are going to love it! It just seems a bit more personal than when I do the drive-thru...though that is still fun!

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  8. You started with a question that completely pulled me in as a reader. Then to a general explanation and back to a specific little moment. Loved it!

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  9. I am in love with this whole idea....now, to think of ways to begin!

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    1. Oh, that's great! I hope you find an opportunity soon!

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  10. That's so fun! I've heard of people doing that, but never done it... you make me want to try it out! One time in college, my husband and I went to dinner in our band uniforms (after beating Michigan!) and another table paid for our dessert. (They wanted to buy us drinks, but we aren't allowed to drink in uniform, and the two of us don't drink anyway!) That was a fun surprise. (The kitchen wrote "Go Bucks!" on the dessert in icing, which was fun too!) But doing it just for no reason is even better. I admire you for doing this!

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    1. Oh, that was so neat! Yeah, you have to try it sometime!

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