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With Two Simple Words, Make a Difference

02/07/2015 03:08 pm ET | Updated Apr 09, 2015

With Two Simple Words, Make a Difference

Daily random acts of kindness can begin with two words: "Good Morning!" It's amazing how two words conveyed from the heart can change the outcome of a day, any day for that matter.

Case in point. During my daily sabbatical to a local convenience store, I've befriended an employee who occasionally seems to be working on just a few hours sleep. He does his best to exemplify good customer service to everyone, including many who are in no stretch of the imagination, morning people. Customers who are in a hurry, short on time, long on ill will and not in the least bit glad to be there.

I've made it a point to greet him with a rousing "Good Morning" each day and most importantly, mean it. I'll even ask how he's doing... and stop... and listen. Equally important is a genuine smile that conveys, "It's good to see you. I'm glad you're working today."

Over the last few weeks, this young man started giving me "free" coffee refills for no apparent reason. (Remember the word free. I'll come back to it later.) When I confronted him about why he started doing it, he said, "It's because you're always nice to me. I appreciate it."

My heart fist bumped my noggin. I had to share this good fortune. During my weekly Friday Breakfast Group, I shared how fortunate I was to get "free" coffee just by saying "Good Morning." I challenged all fifty men in the room to try it, for a day, a week, a month. Pick someone, anyone and convey a heartfelt "Good Morning" and see if it too, changes their life for the better.

Fast forward to this week. During my coffee stop a couple of days ago, I found my favorite employee in a downright funk. My morning salutations didn't work for once and neither did my infectious smile (wink). "Come now," I said, "it can't be that bad. You're always nice to people. It's bound to come back to you in droves."

Solemnly, he replied. "I wish! It doesn't and it hasn't, no matter how hard I try."

I jovially said, "Your times coming, you'll see" and walked out the door. Somehow those words of assurance didn't sit well with me. Try as I might to blow it off, I couldn't shake the thought, "Actions do speak louder than words." Why wait for someone else to make a difference when I could do it myself?

Jumping in the truck, I noticed a Subway Restaurant with a flashing "Open" sign just a stones throw away. Twenty bucks and a gift card later, I returned to the store and presented this young man this gift. "See, I told you good things would come your way. Have a lunch and dinner on me." I left him speechless, but finally smiling.

This morning, my "Good Morning" greeting was met with one cheerful hello from a most grateful employee.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm sorry I was in such a funk the last time. You made my day. You saw I was having a bad day and you went out of your way to 'fix' it. I went home that night and purposely went to Subway and had dinner on you. Then I came back and posted on Facebook how much your gift meant to me. I encouraged all my friends to do the same. Thank you. I promise I'll pay it forward. You'll see."

I was humbled by it all. "It already has, in more ways than you could ever hope or imagine," I stammered, trying to think of something else to say. "What goes around, comes around, doesn't it?"

Oh, and the free coffee I've been given all this time. It hasn't been free at all. I learned today of all days that he's been paying it for me. Humbled is word I do not covey lightly.

I've shared this story to say this, random acts of kindness, even if it begins with two simple words, are contagious. Join me, along with those in this story, who've pledged to pay it forward, one day, one week, one month and let me know how it goes. I can tell you first hand, it will change you while changing someone else's life for the better.

Ride To Redemption vaulted to #2 on Amazon a couple of weeks ago for Romance, International Crime, Mystery. It, too conveys the central theme of paying it forward, just not without costs.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWHIPJ8 18 and Older Please