It is early Saturday afternoon and I find myself at the mall to do some Christmas shopping, just like the thousands of people that are already there. I make my way to my favourite coffee spot (because I have a coupon in hand, and in dire need of coffee). There are only two people in front of me in the lineup: the person ordering, plus one gentleman behind them. While I am waiting, another person lines up behind me. There are now four people in the lineup. A few seconds later, another lady makes her way over to the lineup, grumbling the entire time:
What a long lineup, this is ridiculous! They should really open up some more cashiers, now I’m going to have to wait to get my coffee. I’d better get a discount for this.
That statement took me aback. Counting the person that was already paying for their order, there was a grand total of five people there (including her). There was already the maximum two people at the two cash registers, plus a couple more focusing solely on making drinks. Anyone could easily see it would likely take less than five minutes for her to order her desired caffeinated beverage. Even on a good day, lineups at this coffee place would easily outnumber five people. I began to formulate words to give the lady a piece of my mind, when the guy in front of me turned towards her.
Can I buy you a coffee?
The instant he said those words, all tenseness in the air dissipated. While most people would have showed their outward disapproval by either remaining silent or saying some smart remark (I was certainly debating doing so), he chose a road less traveled. He chose to believe either 1) she was grouchy due to the crazy holiday season, 2) she was in dire need of caffeine (I can certainly turn into a monster without it) or 3) a mix of 1 and 2. His solution cost him a whopping $3, instead of everyone leaving the place in a sour mood due to that one person. The lady was so stunned at his offer that she immediately looked back on her past behaviour and (hopefully) realized how her words were affecting everyone’s view on her. She exchanged names with the gentleman (a name she forgot and had to ask again 30 seconds later) and vowed to pay it forward.
Thank you Mr. Kelly Last-Name-Unknown, for being an everyday hero. I’ve learned something new because of your actions.