Art by T Kurtz

I got caught in a Starbucks “Pay it forward” chain today. If you don’t know what that is, let me explain. It all started when the company put in drive thru locations. The person in front of you; who is probably much more energetic than a coffee addict has a right to be, decides to share their joy of the day and buys your drink. It is a kind gesture that brightens your day. You decide; hey, that was nice! I want to make the person behind me feel good too. So, you pay for their drink.

The irony is, only one drink ends up free for someone. Average price of a cup-o-joe is $5, and no one in a long line of cars is getting anything free. Why do it? Why do people on that day create this pointless chain? It is going to go on until some office lacky comes by with a huge conference order. Again; I point out, only one drink is free for 1 person. What good does it do?

First off, if you choose to end the chain and get a free drink; take your joy without guilt. It was a gift to brighten your day. It hurts no one to enjoy your free cup’a. Second; when the barista says, “The person in front of you paid for your coffee” you have a moment of joy. A perfect stranger did something nice for you and it made your day. Third, being able to do something nice makes you feel happy too. That’s 2 warm fuzzy feelings back to back!

The fourth point; for just a moment, you get to be a better person. If you are lucky enough to be a part of the chain, you are part of a “group of nice strangers” We all like the feeling that we belong and now for the day, we are part of a “pay it forward” group.

Wouldn’t Haley Joel Osment feel proud of us? For a moment, we made the world a better place for us and others. Not a bad $5 investment on something you were going to pay for anyway.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.