On the Bright Side
August 14, 2021
First and foremost I want to offer a big thank you to ... well, I don't really actually know whom to thank.
Last week I had a late lunch at Village Grill before going back to my store to get ready for First Friday – a little break in a very full and long day. I was alone with a good book and I took my time, enjoying reading and eating a delicious hot beef sandwich. When it came time to go I waited for the waitress to bring me my bill.
When she did come by my table she just told me to have a nice rest of the day. I wished her the same and asked for my bill. She said it was taken care of, not to worry, and again wished me a happy day. I was a little dumbfounded and had to confirm with her that yes, my bill had indeed been paid for by someone.
I want to thank that someone, but I never found out who it was. If it was you and you're reading this, whomever you might be, thank you so much and know that your kind gesture was muchly appreciated!
And secondly, thank you to all of you out there who do this sort of thing on a regular basis. I know many of my friends have been surprised when they get to the drive-up pay window at Starbucks or McDonald's only to find out their order has been paid for by the stranger ahead of them. I know it happens at other restaurants, too, right here in Tehachapi and all over everywhere else, as well.
I know people mow their neighbor's yard, or shovel out their neighbor's driveways. People show up with a gas can full of gas when someone's car runs out, and strangers always seem to be willing to give someone a jump with their jumper cables. Neighbors and sometimes strangers bring food when a family or a person is going through a devastating loss. Sometimes people bring new neighbors a welcoming pastry or hot plate.
Sometimes the kind gesture is as small as picking up the newspaper on someone's lawn and putting it on their front porch; sometimes the gesture is more grand, as in paying for a meal. People watch out for one another's kids or pets in all sorts of circumstances; people watch the bathroom door for you in a public place when it won't lock; people allow someone to go ahead of them in the grocery line when they just have a few items.
Some people simply offer a smile to a stranger; some people return their carts to the cart corral in the grocery store parking lot. Some people offer a helping hand to someone with arms full; some people stand up for someone else against the bullies of the world. I see these kind gestures often, especially when I am paying attention and looking for them.
So many times life seems hard and full of challenges, and it not only seems that way but it really IS full of hard times and challenges. But often we forget that life is also full of those little moments of kindness and generosity that help us get through the rough times. Having someone anonymously pay for my lunch is one of those big reminders of how good and kind people can be to one another.
And it makes me want to pass it on. Pay it forward. However you want to say it, it makes me want to do it more, too. To be a better person.
© 2021 Marilda Mel White. Mel, local writer/photographer and owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.