Paying it Forward

I wasn’t going to stop for lunch; I was going to head straight home and whip up a quick lunch and get back to editing but as if I had been forced by a tractor beam, I found msyelf pulling into the Chipotle parking lot. (That is my story and I’m sticking to it.) On my way into the restaurant I heard a soft-spoken, “Excuse me Miss.” I looked up from my iPhone and saw a man around my age, standing near the outside door. I stopped, thinking that maybe I had dropped something and he said quietly, “I’m really sorry to bother you but if it isn’t too much trouble, do you happen to have a dollar or two so that I can go buy lunch for myself?” I hesitated, looking at my wallet and then back at him and sensing my momentary pause, he smiled a defeated smile and said a barely audible, “I understand” and started to walk away. I’ve lived in Minneapolis for 5 years now and being approached for spare change is part of my every day life. But there was something about this guy. I don’t know if it was his quiet nature or the humility he showed but I found myself asking if I could buy him lunch.

In the 7 minutes we waited in line, I learned a few things about this man; one being that he had never eaten at a Chipotle in his life. I clearly didn’t hide my shock well since the next words he said were, “so then I guess you eat here a lot then?” (Understatement of the week and a smack in the face of how much I took that ability for granted.) He asked me if it was ok for him to get a burrito and once we got to the point of the line where they ask what salsas and extras you want on your burrito, he excitedly asked for them all and looked at me with a grateful smile. As we walked out of the restaurant together, he thanked me again and said, “By the way, my name is Moses. I hope I can pay you back for this one day.”

I walked to my car in tears, not just for the kindness of his words, but also because yesterday a friend of mine had tweeted about how she had payed it forward to the person behind her in the Starbucks drive through and today I was granted this amazing opportunity to do the same. Had I not stopped been tractor-beamed to Chipotle for lunch, I never would have met this amazing man who renewed my spirit and gave me way more than the $10 lunch I bought him. It’s so easy to write people off and forget how blessed we are to be able to eat not only well, but also to be able to eat every day.

So today. Today I am thanking God for placing that man in my life. For the reminder of how much I am blessed with and a renewed desire not to take it for granted. And today I am encouraging you to do the same. I didn’t tell you this story so you all would think better of me, but because I’m grateful that Quyen’s small act of kindness yesterday filtered past the hundreds of tweets my brain read yesterday.

Pay it forward; it doesn’t take much. Allow yourself to be shaken out of the ordinary and do something kind for someone else. It is contagious.

(7) Comments

  1. You really do rock that’s all I have to say. And what a better lunch to give to someone than Chipotle.

  2. Anna Gengler

    wonderful, wonderful. you’re a woman after my own heart!

  3. Margaret Riedl

    Melissa ~ thank you for paying it forward. I often think of my troubled nephew who passed away at the way too young age of 21. He was homeless often and depended on the kindness of strangers. Whenever I pay it forward, I do it in honor of Dustin.

  4. Love this. Love that you invited him in with you! Eyes welled up with tears reading this.

  5. Goosebumps and teary-eyed. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Ginger

    Thank you for sharing this… I LOVE that God used you for this man… I love that your heart is open to hear Him. God, thank you for your love!

  7. And I sit here in tears… Thank you.