There are many, many events that make me doubt the goodness and the heart of humanity as a whole. Of course, this is definitely an over-generalization and there are definitely occurrences that make me realize that there are a lot of good people in the world.
I want to describe one of those occurrences.
If you do not know, I am currently employed at a Dining Hall here on campus. Although I have no interest in working in the food service industry, I thought that it would be a good experience getting to know the ins and outs of the businesses that so happily serve us food almost every day of our lives. So far, it has been a very rewarding experience, and I definitely recommend an employment in the food service industry to everyone who frequents restaurants.
Now, back to the story. I was working the cash register as usual. Everyone was diligently paying for their food and getting water cups. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, a woman with sunglasses and a skateboard approached the cash register. Once again, nothing out of the ordinary. Then, she kindly offered to pay for the four customers after her in line, of whom she informed me she did not know. I’ve never experienced someone offering to pay for strangers before, so this was a transaction that I was extremely glad to make. I thanked the woman, told her how kind she was, and sent her on her way with her food.
The expressions of the people who had their food paid for were priceless. First, a look of awe and embarrassment. A poor man was under the impression that the woman had attempted to pay for his food as some sort of sign that she was interested in him. However, when he learned that the next person was also being paid for, he become less embarrassed and more appreciative of the gesture that this stranger had made. The next individual in line curiously waited to see if the person behind him was also being paid for, and when he realized that they were, he left. Whether this was because they knew eachother or that he was simply concerned that the person behind him would get the short end of the stick, I’ll never know.
The third person to be paid for did as expected: They take their prepaid food and left. The fourth person, however, did something that has inspired me to be a better person everyday. He asked me about the person behind him. “Is the person behind me’s meal paid for as well?”. Of course, I responded with a “No.” To this, the customer gladly stated that he would pay for the person behind him. Not only did this customer get a free meal, but he also cared enough about the people around him to make sure that he wasn’t the only one getting something for free.
This trend surprisingly continued for the next 10-or so people. Each one, after learning about their free meal, was immediately concerned with the status of the person behind them. After learning they hadn’t been paid for, they quickly offered to pay. Of course, there was bound to be someone who did not take the time to check on the person next in line, but the fact remains that a single act of gratitude, paying for the next four people in line, sparked a huge chain of people who were looking out for one another and taking care of each other’s meals.
This event made me extremely excited, and I immediately told my roommates about the event when I returned home. Inspired by it, my roommate actually decided to surprise me and pay for my laundry that night. In order to give back the good feeling, I decided to pay for someone elses’ laundry, to which they were very receptive, and we have become good friends.
This event has taught me that people, no matter how ignorant, arrogant, or self-centered they may seem, have a lot of good in them, and are very capable of accomplishing astonishing things. Because of this event, I am now inspired to look out for anyone else who may need help and immediately offer my assistance. On top of this, I think it’s a good idea to surprise people once in a while. I want to show those around me that I care about them.
Now I challenge you, reader, to go out and do the same. Pay for a stranger’s meal. Help a stranger carry something. Offer your aid wherever you think it could be useful. It could make someone’s day, start a chain reaction, and maybe change the world.