A Simple Gesture

by Jennifer Gumm
Texas, USA

A Simple Gesture

One Monday morning in late August, 2002, I was waiting in the drive-through line at a fast-food restaurant, craving a sausage biscuit. It was rush hour, and the streets were filled with cars, vans, and buses. Area schools were starting back after a long summer, too, and the drive-through line was huge.

As I sat there thinking about the workweek ahead, I noticed a dad with a minivan full of kids to my right. He had pulled in to the parking lot from a busy side street and was waiting to get in line. It was going to be quite some time before he got the chance. Cars were pulling in from the main street into the line, too, making it even longer.

I had almost reached the order panel when the car ahead of me pulled forward. I looked over and waved to let the man in line. Because I have four kids of my own, I know how it is to have a carload of impatient kids. He waved a polite “thank you” and drove ahead.

When I got to the window to pay for my order, the cashier told me that the guy ahead of me wanted to thank me for letting him in line, and had paid for my order. I was speechless. I looked up, and the van was still at the pick-up window in front of me. The man saw me look up, and waved to me in his mirror. Several pairs of little hands were up in the air waving, too. I was so touched! I waved back and smiled.

I drove away from the parking lot, smiling. The rest of the day was wonderful. Suddenly, the problems I had to handle didn’t seem as big as usual. That man and his children started my day off on a positive note that lasted the rest of the day. Letting him in line was nothing special to me, but it mattered to him — and he found a way to return the favor in a way that made a big difference to me!

That man did more than buy my breakfast; he taught me something. In a world where we are so often on guard and expecting the worst, some people still appreciate small gestures. Now I am going to think even more about the importance of small favors. When someone does  me a favor, no matter how small, I’ll try to show my appreciation the way this man and his kids did.

By the way, my sausage biscuit never tasted better.

Originally published as HeroicStories #382 on Feb 10, 2003

2 thoughts on “A Simple Gesture”

  1. In Canada, in Tim Hortons drive-through lines, people fairly often pay for the following order for no particular reason. Since I had some financial success/luck ~10 years ago, I do it every time. The reason is hard to define, but it makes both parties feel good.


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