Earlier this month I met my dear friend Sheila for dinner before we were to attend an
talk. We enjoyed great conversation (as usual) as well as a
delicious meal at one of our favorite local restaurants. When done, we asked the waitress for our bill, and then gave her our plastic with which to pay. She returned to the table and handed us back our cards, saying "It's all been paid for." We were both caught off-guard and confused, not understanding what she meant. "Someone paid for your meal. You owe nothing." I asked if her tip was included and she replied "It will be taken care of; I'm not concerned about it." The payer wanted to remain anonymous. I had heard and read of such scenarios before, but it had never happened to me (nor Sheila)--and this wasn't for just a $3 cup of java either!
Sheila and I felt so touched by this random act of kindness, this expression of love, this thoughtfulness and generosity; we were both lit up, with hearts full. We immediately agreed we would "pay it forward" and felt excited about that future adventure we would share together. We proceeded to have fun playing detective at who could have been our kind stranger, and analyzing why they had chosen us. First we thought it was the friendly couple who'd already departed. Soon Sheila realized the waitress had given us a clue when she told us her tip "
be taken care of" indicating the benefactor was still in the restaurant. Then we were REALLY curious! As we departed, we were all smiles and even friendlier than usual to those we passed, shining and spreading the light within us outward. Folks responded in-kind (which made us wonder if our benefactor was this person or that one or ...).
We will never know who performed this gesture, but we do know it impacted us that night. It will continue to have a ripple effect and make a positive difference every time we remember it and also when we pay it forward.
These words in an Easter letter I received and read just last night seem apropos:
"A most beautiful transformation takes place in our consciousness as we increasingly expand our love and caring beyond the narrow boundaries of self and reach out to help others... Paramahansa Yogananda said: "With every kindness and every good action that you perform, you are being resurrected; and you are immediately in tune with Christ's divine consciousness."
Acts of thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity uplift and go a long way towards joining people, healing hearts, and fostering peace, within and without.