We spent the entire day ice climbing in NH and on the way back we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts to get some coffee. We usually stop at White Mountain Bagel because they’re both awesome and local, however, they closed at 3pm so we opted for D&D literally across the street. While in line I saw that someone was at the drive-thru waiting at the window. I first asked the cashier what the order was for the car waiting outside. It was around $3 so I told her to put their bill on my card and then to tell the car that it was a random act of kindness.
It was cool to hear the conversation between the Dunkin Donuts cashier and the driver because I could only hear the cashier, “No you don’t have to pay for it. No, someone inside paid it for you. No I don’t think they know you, it was a random act of kindness.” I felt solid about this one because the driver truly seemed perplexed and not expecting it, definitely a random act. I also liked the reaction of my two new friends who I had ice climbed with that day. It’s one thing to help someone who is truly in need, that makes a lot of sense. However, to see someone randomly pick up the tab for someone else, literally for no reason, shocked them a bit I think. They weren’t ready for it, but they totally understood after I explained the life experiment to them.
The last time I paid someone’s coffee bill I was in northern Maine (read: pretty much Canada) and it seemed to go over well so I was really interested in trying it somewhere else to see what the reaction was. The reaction seemed similar from what I could tell except that this time I was with my friends instead of my family so it was definitely a different experience. Maybe some exposure to random acts of kindness will lead them to do their own random acts, or at least better recognize situations that warrant kind acts themselves, random or not.