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Posts Tagged ‘generosity’

What goes ’round, comes ’round, they say. In this story from the Washington Post “Optimist” newsletter, a drugstore cashier helped out a customer, and when the customer devised a way to acknowledge the favor, she learned that lots of people loved the cashier.

Cathy Free reports, “Real estate agent Rina Liou realized she had a problem as soon as she reached into her purse for her wallet at a Houston [Walgreens].

“She had stopped at the store to buy lightbulbs for an open house that would start in less than 30 minutes, but she had left her wallet at home. …

“ ‘I was pretty flustered,’ said Liou, 35. ‘I didn’t know what to do.’

“Liou, feeling a bit of panic, wondered how potential buyers would react when they couldn’t turn on the lights at the townhouse she was showing on that day, Sept. 7, she said. But then Walgreens checker Rita Jackson Burns spoke up:

‘I’m a little short on funds because I only have $20 in my checking account, but I’ll go ahead and pay for this for you,’ Liou recalled her saying.

“Then Burns pulled out her personal debit card. When she rang up the lightbulbs, Burns said she was relieved to see that they were on sale, costing $12.41.

“ ‘I was a little embarrassed that I only had $20 in the bank because I’d just paid my bills,’ Burns recalled. … ‘I wanted to help, because I know that if I were in a bind, I’d hope that somebody else would do the same,’ Burns said.

“Liou thanked Burns profusely and told her that she’d return later that afternoon to pay her back. She kept that promise. ‘She gave me $15, plus $30 extra, and told me to put it in my bank account,”’ said Burns, 58. …

“A few days later, Liou decided to take her gratitude one step further: She posted about her experience on her neighborhood’s Nextdoor page, and dozens of people chimed in, wondering how they could show their appreciation for Burns. Then Houston’s KHOU-11 television learned about Burns’s kind deed, and things really took off.

“Burns has worked at the Walgreens on Stella Link Road for 38 years and knows all of the regular customers, she said. Many of those people, including Michelle Suh, wanted to recognize her decades of service behind the cash register.

“Suh decided to organize a GoFundMe campaign called ‘Gratitude for Ms. Rita’ to reward Burns’s contributions as an essential worker during the coronavirus pandemic.

“ ‘Ms. Rita is a neighbor in the truest sense of the word,’ Suh wrote. ‘Until Walgreens and our country pays our essential workers more, let’s step up to make sure Ms. Rita has more than $20 in her account. … She has given us so much kindness, and we would love to show her how much she means to us,’ Suh added.

“The fundraiser has reached more than $11,000, and thankful customers have left dozens of comments.

“ ‘Ms. Rita, your smile and kind words greeted us every time we walked into the store,’ wrote Sandi Mercado, who donated $25. ‘On a bad day, you made us forget our troubles for a few minutes. On a good day, you shared in our laughter. … If you ever wondered if people notice your kindness … they do. We do.’ …

“ ‘The world needs more kind people like you,’ added Emilie Mavligit, who donated $10.

“Burns said she is stunned by the generosity. … She is the main provider for her husband, Robert Burns, a retired steel cutter, and their adult son, Jarrell.

“ ‘I’m going to save some of the money for a rainy day, but I’d like to donate a portion of it to help children in some way and show them what can happen if you help others,’ she said.”

More at the Washington Post, here.

Photo: Rina Liou via KHOU-11

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Around the country, generous people have been “paying it forward”– doing a good deed for someone else that was done for them.

Only in this case, it’s more backward than forward because it involves paying for whatever the person behind you at the drive-thru has ordered. It’s become surprisingly widespread, according to Kate Murphy, writing at the NY Times today.

“If you place an order at the Chick-fil-A drive-through off Highway 46 in New Braunfels, Tex., it’s not unusual for the driver of the car in front of you to pay for your meal in the time it took you to holler into the intercom and pull around for pickup. …

“You could chalk it up to Southern hospitality or small town charm. But it’s just as likely the preceding car will pick up your tab at a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through in Detroit or a McDonald’s drive-through in Fargo, N.D. Drive-through generosity is happening across America and parts of Canada, sometimes resulting in unbroken chains of hundreds of cars paying in turn for the person behind them.

“Perhaps the largest outbreak of drive-through generosity occurred last December at a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg, Manitoba, when 228 consecutive cars paid it forward. A string of 67 cars paid it forward in April at a Chick-fil-A in Houston. And then a Heav’nly Donuts location in Amesbury, Mass., had a good-will train of 55 cars last July.” More.

I love the idea, but I think I missed something. Do you give the order taker an extra $20 and get the change when you pick up your meal at the next window? Or does the cost of the stranger’s meal have to go on your credit or debit card?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Drive-thru food outlet

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