As a lot of you may know, yesterday was a pretty traumatic day for Australia.
We were subjected to a vicious attack by a man who acted alone, basically holding innocent people hostage in an effort to foist his manic message upon us. He basically hid behind a religion, making people question a group of really lovely people. I know this, because I know a lot of beautiful Muslim people. I’ve been to their homes. I’ve eaten with them, celebrated with them, been joyful with them. And this man set out to tarnish them. And that I cannot accept.
The day didn’t end well….. two people lost their lives. (I refuse to acknowledge the third) And that made me very sad. For them. For the other hostages. For their families and their friends. For Australians all around the country.
I don’t live in Sydney. I sat and watched is all unfold from my living room, and my heart was broken for us all.
Today I woke up and felt terrible. I couldn’t lay flowers for them. I couldn’t sign the memorial book. So I did the only thing available to me. I bought a coffee for a stranger.
Actually I did it twice. The first time, the dear man behind the counter was sort of confused and mistook what I asked for. They delivered two coffees to my table. I smiled, asked the waitress to take back the second coffee and asked her to make sure that someone, anyone received my small gift. I told her that if they asked, to tell them it was for Sydney. As I sat and drank my coffee, I could hear them telling people their coffee had been paid for. I left and people were still paying it forwards. That’s the Australian spirit, right there.
Later in the morning, I was walking past another small coffee place and a lady was standing counting out ten and twenty cent pieces to pay for her coffee. I reached over her shoulder and gave the woman serving her the money. I’m not saying the lady couldn’t afford the coffee. She may have simply been cleaning out her coin purse. I do that all the time. But it was spur of the moment and she was shocked and happy and thankful, trying to run after me to say thanks….
I didn’t stop. I didn’t need to. I smiled and waved and kept walking. It wasn’t much, but it felt like I had, in my own way, laid a tribute for Sydney.
It’s really not difficult to pay $4 for someone else. I would do it again in a heartbeat, for no reason at all.
Pay it forward.
You’ll be glad you did.