The other morning Jay and I headed for the Starbucks drive-thru after a necessary doctor appointment. We ordered our coffees, and drove around to the pickup window. As the barista handed us our drinks she smiled and told us, “The car in front of you paid for your order.”
We were in disbelief. “Really? Really?”
Neither of us had paid much attention to the car in front of us in the drive-thru line, other than making sure not to rear-end it. By the time we grabbed our coffees and looked up again, the car had pulled out and taken off.
At first this surprise gesture was a mystery to be solved. For a few minutes we started guessing and speculating – was it someone we knew and they saw us but we didn’t see them? Or did they see the two heads of gray hair in the car behind them and figured they should help the elderly (ahem)? Maybe they looked in their rearview mirror and saw the big ol’ bandage on my face from the skin biopsy I’d just had, and assumed I could use some cheering up (that would have been an accurate assumption).
It took me a few minutes to let go of the need to figure out what motivated the driver and passenger in front of us to do what they did. Once I did let go, I was able to receive in my heart the sweetness of the person or persons we’ll probably never meet up with again. An act so simple as treating the strangers in the car behind you to their favorite Starbucks beverages can so change how the day feels, indeed how life in such stressful times feels.
There’s more – so much more – love, compassion and sweetness around us these days. Take for example the son of a friend of ours who showed up at his local hospital with over 50 meals for the hospital staff.
And our neighbor Grace, who put out calls for elastic and started a face mask sewing collective last month. They continue to stitch today thanks to elastic and material donations from good souls in our neighborhood and beyond.
Only days after the first shelter in place guidelines came out last month, another neighbor we’d never met went around taping notes to the front doors of a nearby senior living complex. In the note she introduced herself and said that she and her sons would pick up groceries and medications for anyone who needed help.
On Wednesday night members of the Davis Unitarian Church created and ‘planted’ colorful signs on Covell Blvd. outside Sutter Davis Hospital, praising and thanking all the staff members who work there. Not just the doctors and nurses — all of the staff.
Thank you to all these good people.
And thank you to the young ladies who recently serenaded joggers, bikers and strollers along our nearby greenbelt.
And our good friends at PDQ downtown, who announced that they will go out to your car and take care of your shipment for you so you don’t have to go inside the store.
Thanks also to Trader Joe’s, who also will send an employee out to your car, take your shopping list and gather all your items, process your payment, and bring the groceries out to your car.
We’re sure many other local stores and businesses are making similar accommodations for their vulnerable clients and customers. We thank all of them.
And thanks the Davis Enterprise for making coronavirus-related news free for us to read online without having a paid online subscription.
Finally, to the occupants of the car in front of us at the Starbucks drive thru, our heartfelt thanks to you for your gesture of utter sweetness, and for inspiring us to write this column – and to the best of our ability, pay it forward.