It had been a particularly grueling couple of months. We’ve all been there; you know what it’s like. The summer was whizzing by in a swirl of non-stop pressure. I was dealing with unrealistic deadlines on top of an already overloaded work schedule; impossible divas that created chaos out of everything and nothing; and a negaholic team member who suddenly baled, leaving the rest of us up the wazoo.
In addition, I had company to take care of, and was in the process of moving both home and studio.
There was no escape. Emails at 1 am, phone conferences at 5 am, and 14-hour days right through the weekend so I could take a day off to entertain my company and show them what a great place Seattle is, and how good life is—usually.
I knew I was about to erupt. And since my typically refined British manners restrain me from letting loose Bette Midler style—at least in anger—that eruption would be have been a quiet but very hot, fierce whoosh of steam.
I thought about hiding in the janitor’s closet just to get a few minutes peace, but instead, ran downstairs to my car, slammed it into gear, and screeched off to Starbucks. (Oh yeah, just what you need in that state, more caffeine.)
I tapped my thumbs on the steering wheel stuffing down my impatience at the custard colored Toyota truck hovering in front of me. Who buys custard colored cars?
His left winker blinked; he false-started a left turn, a right turn, another left, then made a sharp right. “Bleepety blanketing ijeet … get outta my way! Ijeet!” (Oh, didn’t I say? It’s perfectly acceptable for one to do a Bette in the relative anonymity of one's car.)
I pulled into the line for Starbucks’ drive through. Eight cars in front of me. How fast is the line moving? Can I afford to wait? While I’m making up my mind, the line shunts forward a couple of cars and now I’m trapped. So I wait. And I wait. And Mt. Vesuvius starts sputtering.
“Grande caramel macchiato, extra hot, extra caramel. Please.” I open the ashtray to grab my pre-paid coffee bucks card, and drive up to the cashier.
He smiles, “Put your card away, the customer in front of you paid for your drink today.”
“ ? … ? Why?” Stupid thing to ask, but that’s what popped out.
“Just a random act of kindness. He wanted to do something nice for someone. And hopes you enjoy.”
“ … Wow … that’s … nice.” I’m speechless.
That stranger’s random act of kindness—paying for my $4.25 cup of coffee—stopped me in my tracks.
Instead of racing back to the source of my tension, as I felt I should, I decided to regroup and drove down the hill to Lake Sammamish. I walked across the field to the beach and sat on the wall overlooking the water, gently savoring every sip of my extra hot, extra caramel macchiato.
Seagulls squabbled at my feet posturing for leftovers. A seaplane growled to silence as it pulled against its dock. Canadian geese cried their goodbyes as they took flight for the day. Waves lapped against the shore, grating smaller pebbles over larger ones. And somewhere there—as the wind gently whispered around my head and shoulders, cooling the warmth of the early evening sun—I heard the unmistakable screech of a bald eagle.
I thank that stranger, whose random act of kindness, saved my day and made my week. I'm sure the people around me silently thanked him too! And I hope, very sincerely, that when I paid it forward, my random act of kindness made a little difference to someone else's week. It did to mine.
(Thanks to Kiyotoe whose pre-holiday post reminded me of this day.)
PS... I just switched my Blog to the New GOOGLE Blogger and the comments now show anonymous instead of people's pix and names ... anyone else had this issue? ~v