Sunday morning. Wood and I, home with our sleeping college-bound son, Andrew. Everyone else gone! We are three teenagers shy of a chaotic household. One on an Outward Bound, one at the Lake and one at an out-of-town wedding. So I suggest (drum roll here.....) Breakfast out!
So we slid into the booth at International House of Pancakes. (In the retelling of this story later to my absentee teenagers, they did a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me-mom, it's-IHOP!! Hmmm, well I've spent my life calling it the long version!) We order, have some coffee, relax into the comfort of the booth and talk about how we used to do this type thing all the time before we had kids. The young couple in the booth behind my husband have a baby --- a kiddo all decked out in her Sunday finest. Standing on her dad's legs and looking over his shoulder. At me. And she and I exchange about a smile every five seconds throughout the rest of the meal. I mean, this kid is happy.
So we get up to leave, and I tell this couple what a great baby they have, and it is obvious from their smiles that they couldn't agree more. We get to the cashier and I grab Wood's arm and say, "Let's buy them breakfast!" He smiles, and I tell the cashier that we want to pay for the young couple-with-the-baby's-breakfast. She rings both tables up, and we leave. I say, "I have always wanted to do that!!!!!!" (My husband does this sort of thing on a regular basis....he pays for the car behind him at the McDonald's drive-through.)
I have started and stopped this blog many times....didn't want to sound like I was blowing my own horn. No -- I just love that pay it forward concept. We had first-hand experience with pay it forward one time, years ago, after 8 a.m. Mass at St. Agnes, with eight kids in the front pew (they pay attention better from that vantage point, although it makes it a long way to evacuate the church if you have a kid that you have to haul out of there --- especially if said kid is screaming "I'll-be-good-I'll-be-good-I'll-be-good"all the way down the half-a-mile aisle). We were approached by an older gentleman. He shook Wood's hand, and slipped him $100. He simply said, "Boy I remember those days with my family. Have a great day."
I spent the rest of the day wondering what that couple did/said when they got to the cash register. What their reaction was. And if someday a long time from now, they too will go out to breakfast, and reminisce about the day that some couple paid for their breakfast at International House of Pancakes (I like the long version better.) I just love those ripples.....