A few months ago, I ordered coffee at a Starbucks drive-thru. When I got to the window to pay, the cashier informed me that my coffee had already been paid for by the driver ahead of me. How nice! So I asked to pay for the driver behind me. The cashier said "their order is $11.50; is that okay?"
Yikes! What could I say? I would feel like a complete jerk if I said "never mind, that's too much." But I hadn't planned on spending so much money either. But I said okay, and someone got $11.50 of coffee for free. It makes for an amusing story to tell.
Well, today I went through another drive-through, and someone ahead of me paid for my coffee. When I asked to pay for the driver behind me, the cashier said "You don't have to. I wouldn't. It's a really big order." I asked if I could pay for part of the order, and he said no. So I didn't pay for their coffee, and now I feel REALLY strange about it. I've still paid out more than I've received, but that's not really the point, is it?
I think I'll go put some money in the Tzedakah box. Then I'll feel better. Meanwhile, for my best pay-it-forward story EVER, read this blog entry from a few years ago.