Paid Forward!

My father (aka The Old Man) told me about something weird that happened to him last week – not once, but twice.

First, he was buying bread and, when he reached the cashier, she told him, “You bread was already paid for.” By the woman in front of him in line, a complete stranger.

Well, that was nice – but odd.

A few days later, he and my mother had lunch after her doctor’s appointment. There was a man nearby having lunch alone, maybe early 30s, neatly dressed but with tattoos covering his forearms. He didn’t talk to my parents, but he paid for their meal.

“The waitress said it’s a ‘Pay Up Front’,” said The Old Man.

“Pay it forward?” I suggested.

“That’s it!” he said. “That’s what the cashier said, too. Now I have to pay it forward.”

“That’ll be fun.”

“They made my week. And twice! It makes you feel really good about other people.”

I doubt the two kind strangers will read this, but I’d like to thank them, anyway. When I was a kid, my father used to warn us, “People are no damned good.” He never treated strangers like criminals, but he was never surprised by thievery and corruption. So it’s wonderful that two people spent their money and thoughts to do him a good turn.