‘Paying it forward’ craze catching on locally

Going through the drive-thru at a restaurant in Bellefontaine, I was so ready to get that luscious cup of coffee in my hands that I had exact change counted and ready.

Quickly, I pulled up to the window, but before I could hand over my money, the lady in the window held up the palm of her hand.

“The driver ahead of you paid for your coffee,” she said with a big smile.

I looked ahead as the driver of the silver colored car waved back as she pulled into traffic.

“Wow. Does that happen all the time?” I said.

“Pay it forward,” she said as she nodded.

Call me fickle, but I was genuinely thrilled to be one of the latest people to receive good will by the “Pay it Forward” craze.

Since then I’ve been wondering, is that been happening here in western Clark County?

“It’s spontaneous,” said Sheila Mathews, Crew Trainer at McDonalds in Enon. “Sometimes they pay for the car ahead of them or behind them.”

Often the generous person is surprising a friend, but generally the gift-giver chooses to surprise the recipient.

One fast food worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told me that sometimes the first driver sees a person in military uniform driving the following car and uses it as a way to say, “Thank you for your service.”

At the Lee’s Chicken Regional Office in New Carlisle, Scott Griffith told me that he has had employees from all over the region tell him about the friendly practice.

“It has happened inside restaurants, too,” said Griffith. “It is a pretty neat way to bless someone. It is one of the good things about living here, and I hope there will be more of this.”

So what does a person do when this happens?

Mathews said that some people smile and immediately pay for the car behind them.

I didn’t have a car behind me in line in Bellefontaine, but the next day at the Enon Post office I saw a man running into the station at 4:31 p.m. just after the window had closed. He was carrying a freshly addressed birthday card that needed a stamp and there are no stamp machines.

Uh oh!

I gave him a Forever Stamp and asked him to “Pay it Forward.”

These kind surprises are wonderful and make our world so much brighter. I wonder if the woman paid for my coffee because she saw the worried look on my face as I drove north to go to a doctor’s appointment with my parents.

Whatever her reason was, I hope she could see my smile as I waved a thank you. That was the best tasting cup of coffee I have had in a long time.

“Pay it forward,” folks. Your smile will be as big as the recipient’s.

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