The other day I was in a McDonald’s bathroom (hope this isn’t TMI – not sure what is worse: mentioning I was in a bathroom or admitting I have eaten at McDonald’s) anyway, because I was in the stall – yes, yes, I know TMI again, I missed seeing the women involved, but that really doesn’t matter, because it was their conversation that got to me.

One of the women had done something – I got the feeling she was a McDonald’s employee – and was apologizing profusely for it. I have no clue what she did, and it seemed likely from their interaction that they did not know each other. (No names were mentioned, and they left separately – these astute observations are no doubt a result of my listening to Sherlock Holmes old radio shows recently).

Here’s the thing – oh, and this was a few days before Christmas when everyone was rushing here and there trying to get all their last-minute-to-do’s done – the woman, who was at the receiving end of the apology said:

Don’t worry, honestly, there are some things we are responsible for and some things we are not, it is no problem.” 

Or something like that (I wasn’t exactly in a position to jot her words down – more TMI, I know, I know), but the point is, she responded with calmness and kindness when it was pretty clear from the other woman’s elaborate apology that she could have gotten uppity, acted snippy, or responded angrily, but she didn’t.

I liked that. It was nice. It gave me a warm and cozy feeling – yes, I am now admitting to having a warm and cozy feeling in a bathroom stall.  But I did.

Their brief conversation inspired me to be extra nice to people – you know the pay-it-forward (PIF) kind of little things:  I took a woman’s grocery cart back after I had already taken mine back, made sure I really looked into people’s eyes when I was talking to them in stores, and paid someone’s toll. (Yes, these are really little things. Yes, I should do them all the time. And, yes, I am embarrassed to admit I don’t always remember to do that.)

Being more aware of how I interacted with folks, instead of the upcoming holiday and what was next on my to-do-list, made me feel better and the people I interacted with responded with extra kindness.

So I hope before this year ends and throughout the new year, the reaction of a kind anonymous woman in a McDonald’s restroom inspires you to pay it forward (PIF) – in a big or little way, to someone you know or someone you don’t. It really doesn’t matter, because the bottom line is  – the nicer we are, the nicer the world becomes.

PS When writing this post I discovered there is a PIF Foundation started by the author of the novel that led to the movie.  I like this quote from the site:

“It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can just seem that way, depending who you do it for.”

Have a great day!


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