With church pews and synagogues being filled to the rafters with those seeking spiritual and religious guidance during the downturn of the economy, one unlikely place for hope to show up is in the drive-thru line at Starbucks. But, indeed, that and other drive-thru’s like them are seeing an upturn of random acts of generosity as customers in cars pay for those both unknown and waiting behind them.
Lori Gertz, writer and soul seeker since her middle child’s most recent successive hospitalizations has found her “church” in giving randomly to someone wherever she can.
She says her efforts were launched after hearing a story about a toll paying do-gooder who made a difference in the lives of strangers every time he drove to and from work.
“I spoil myself with Starbucks drink every morning and with 4 drive thru’s locally, I rarely hit the same one twice in a week. It occurred to me that akin to the toll, I could pay for the person behind me in the same fashion. I also started to pay for someone else every time my family went out for a meal. Parking lots, Starbucks, Mcdonalds, Pancake Houses, I've hit them all. The more places I can find to leave my little acts of nicety, the more full my heart gets” says Gertz.
Gertz, being a marketing strategist and inherently familiar with the strength of social media, was so inspired that she posted the story on her blog, Facebook, and some business groups on Linked-In. She reports she expected some response but the outpouring to date has been extraordinary.
Buffalo Grove's Starbucks' Barista reported that on a day in February after Gertz paid for the person behind her, the kindess repeated itself through 5 cars until there was no one else on line.
“The last person in line gave us $5 in cash so we could pass it along after someone new came! We were all blown away! We all Facebooked it! It was like watching God in Action!” reported another Starbucks employee.
Emails and postings continue from as far away as the Middle East and support that the kindness of strangers didn’t just stop at the 5th person in line behind Gertz at Starbucks in February.
“This is not a novel concept”, says Gertz. “It’s human nature to be empathic to others, whether they are in need or just to make someone feel good. You never know how bad a day they are having and how much just a little thing like a cup of coffee or a surprise at the register that their lunch had been paid for will mean. Then, the butterfly effect takes over and one small gesture becomes a tsunami of inspiration to others!”
Gertz says she will post the outpouring of response on her blog, www.gertz-pileofideas.blogspot.com for others to be inspired by.