Giving and Getting Can Feel So Good!
We all remember sitting at a sporting event and watching the wave of people standing and flinging their arms created a “wave”. If you have not had the opportunity yet to be part of a modern day wave at McDonalds then you are missing out. This one comes with a big smile and lot of happiness.
Like many of you, I run out the door every single day to go earn my keep. Unfortunately the bills do not pay themselves (at least not what I’ve been able to discovery yet). Occasionally as part of my routine I go through our local McDonald’s for a sausage McMuffin and a drink. Being on a tight budget I allow myself this $2.38 splurge a couple times a week.
On more than one occasion I have been part of an amazing trend happening at McDonalds across the world. I’m not sure how big this is in your area or your town but in my little city our citizens that frequent our local McDonalds have loved a Pay it Forward Wave.
Here’s how it works. On my most recent trip to the golden arches. I pull into our drive thru and order my normal breakfast splurge. I have a gift card that is burning a hole in my pocket so I’m all prepared for my expensive $2.38 meal. While waiting, I noticed a weird thing going on at the pay window. Every car that stops seems to be having an issue. The kid looks to be explaining stuff to them and it doesn’t look like they are verifying a caramel latte vs an iced coffee. All of a sudden I smile because I have seen this confusion before. Yes, I know exactly what this is as I have experienced this myself a few weeks ago.
About a month ago I was making this same routine stop. When I got to the window the teenage clerk just smiled at me and said “You don’t owe anything as the car ahead of you paid for your order.” I can only imagine my face because I’m sure my look was one of being dumb founded. All I could do was just stare at the 18 year old with a look of confusion and thoughts racing through my head of what am I supposed to do next? So I froze and said, “ah ah… thank you”. Feeling stupid because I really didn’t know what you’re supposed to do next.
As I pulled away, I realized I was just part of the magic moment. Yes I was part of a Pay it Forward McDonalds moment. If you’ve ever been part of one you know the feeling I’m talking about. I also knew that if it happened again, I would know what I would do. What I had to do.
The neat thing about these Pay if Forward moments is they are totally random. So on this particular trip the other day I could see from the confusion going on in front of me that we might be on another wave and I was not going to be the one that broke that wave. No I was not going to be the person sitting in my seat with my arms crossed, a scowl on my face not wanting to participate in this event. This time I was going to jump out my seat with all the enthusiasm I could muster.
When I got to the window and was told that the car in front of me had paid my $2.38 breakfast I knew what to do this time. First I waved at the car in front of me a thank you (not that I think they saw me but it felt like the right thing to do). Then I asked what the car behind me owed. Now in this situation your worst fear is that it’s a lady with 8 kids in a van. So I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed one person in a car so I felt pretty confident that I was not going to get stuck with a $30 breakfast order. While I was prepared to do my part, my gift card was reminding me that it only had so much on it.
She smiled, looked at the next order than with a little look of disappointment told me that it was more than mine as they owed $8.62. But I knew that wasn’t going to end this wave! Not today. I knew I needed to make another person’s day. I knew I was paying it forward!
So I pay the $8.62 and slowly start to crawl up to the next window. All the while looking in my rear view mirror hoping that not only do get to make the next person’s day but they will continue the wave and make even more people happy this morning. Sure enough the smiling clerk is trying to explain what happened. I see the finger pointing at my truck and then I see it happen! I see them hand over their credit card. Yes! They were continuing the wave! They were paying it forward too! They were paying for the next car!
No I don’t know how many cars we’re in that wave that morning. But I do know that at least from what I could see there were 7 cars for sure. Seven people who started their morning with a big smile because somebody cared about them and then they got to do what made them feel good. They got to pay it forward too. The act of giving feels so good.
Now some of you might think the joy over having a $2.38 breakfast paid for seems so minor. But it has nothing to do with the $2.38. It has to do with knowing that there is still joy in the world. Love in the world and people that care. With so much negativity on TV and in our social media it is nice to know there are still people out there who get joy in helping others. No matter how small.
So if you have never experienced the McDonalds Pay it Forward Wave then I challenge you to start one. On your next trip to McDonalds just casually ask the cashier what the car behind you owes. Then offer to pay for their meal. Don’t have a lot of Money? Then do it at breakfast. Most people are like me getting a sandwich and a drink and many others are just getting a coffee. It isn’t about how much you pay it forward just that you do pay it forward.