When a random act of kindness isn’t random

I am a big random act of kindness guy. Fairly often I buy a family a meal in a restaurant just because I can and I occasionally buy a gift card and pay for the next 20 coffee drinkers.

I have even bought coffee for the next car in line at Starbucks but I have looked a little askance at the “records” that are being set for consecutive “pay it forward” coffers. Supposedly 450 customers bought other people coffee over a period of 10 hours before the chain was broken. That chain was broken by a woman who gladly accepted her free coffee but balked at paying it forward.

Peter Schorsch, a blogger took his best shot at becoming the most hated man in American when he deliberately broke the chain at the same Starbucks the next day. Schorsch is being called a grinch by many, but I get his point.

If the barista asks me to pay it forward I think it seriously robs the random act of kindness of its randomness and even its kindness. Like Schorsch I think that feels way too close to coercion to be comfortable.

I will continue to pay it forward every chance I can but I don’t need Starbucks help or the help of any other corporation.

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