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Overheard at next table...."Sorry, your card has been decined..."

I was out at lunch at a local favorite lunch spot, and overheard a very young couple obviously on a first date in the booth behind me.

The server came over after he paid with his debit card, and said "sorry sir, your card has been declined... do you have another card you want to use... or cash?" He turned beet red, and fumbled in his wallet, and mumbled " I thought I had $17 dollars in that account..." His date fumbled though her purse, and they were pulling out ones and some change..

I got up, and walked over the the manager and told him I wanted the bill on my tab, and to tell the young couple that they are all set, and to go about enjoying the date, I asked her nicely to please say it was a card read error, as not to humiliate that boy on a first date, but to let him know discreetly he should check his balance before a date.

As a bartender I see lots of declined cards.. mostly from deadbeats,(Oh I hated that... my manager always took it out on us the next day, plus we got stiffed on tips.. UGH) but you could tell this was a good kid just trying like heck to bring a date out.

I was wondering if it was just because I know what its like to have less than $18 in the bank, or because I think everyone should have a good first date, but how many others would be sneaky like me and do this random act. I would be willing to bet VERY high with this group!

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  1. I honestly can't say how I would have reacted in your position, but you did a good deed...very nice of you.

    1. you did a nice thing, and i would have done the same. i'm sure this kid was mortified by the experience and extremely grateful to you.

      i've done similar things in the past. i may not be "rolling" in dough at the moment, but i'm still much more fortunate than many of the people around me, and i'm faced with constant reminders of that fact. twice in the past year i've been in line at the grocery store behind someone who didn't have enough money to cover their final total so i offered to pay the difference. both people accepted extremely humbly and gracefully, and both asked for my contact information so they could repay me, but i declined. i believe it all comes back around.

      1. Hooray for you. Good on! It's truly fun to be able to do something like that. Here's hoping the guy passes it on when he has a chance. It's best when it's contagious. '-)

        1. Not me. I think kids need to grow up and take some responsibility for their actions, your good deed probably reinforced their view of the world.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hsk

            or perhaps allowed the kids to see there can be kindness in the world.

            1. re: hsk

              Are you standing in for The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

            2. It was a very nice thing to do. Have you ever read Lloyd Douglas? "Magnificent Obsession" or "Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal?" Sometimes when you do these things it's better not to talk about it.

              9 Replies
              1. re: pasuga

                Thank you for phrasing it more kindly than I did (and then got deleted for it).

                1. re: pasuga

                  Agreed. While it was very nice - when you have to point out the nice things you've done, it makes others wonder if you did it to be nice or to have others tell you it was nice of you. Kind of like those that brag about charitable donations. I was always impressed by those that gave generously and anonymously.

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    But, if people truly give anonymously, how could you be impressed by them, as you wouldn't know?

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      Maybe the OP was just mentioning a random act of kindness, and as we say in the south "put a bug in someone's ear",to do the same thing.Not necsesarily a restaurant act of kindness.Any one would do :-)


                  2. re: pasuga

                    pas, I only wanted to know if others do the same thing... if they too have payed it forward. trust me, I do not want or need accolades, only one person in here knows my true identity so I have nothing to gain in that dept.

                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                      ...and to remove all doubt about the appropriate and interesting nature of this post, one need only see the difference in opinion expressed ad infinitum. This breaks down into two categories: those who agree with me and those who are in error. ;-)

                      Heck, it had me checking back for more posts much more often than I would otherwise! Great topic. Not all lessons are learned through defeat or humiliation. My kids loved your response to this issue and all of them agreed with you GK. They all learned from and were inspired by your kindness. They also learned from the naysayers that not all people are so kind - a good lesson in itself. Good on ya GK!

                      1. re: foodiesnorth

                        Foodies, you must be his friend and the person who know his real identity!

                        1. re: Jacey

                          Guess again JC...GK appears, from posts, to be from New England whereas I am from Alberta. Mind you I was in New England about 20 years ago...I suppose we could have met! Hey GK you weren't the crazy man in the Boston subway yelling about his Vietnam war service were you...man did you freak us out! lol

                      2. re: gryphonskeeper

                        It's kind of a sad cultural thing that we automatically assume that, because someone mentioned their own good deed, they mentioned it because they wanted a pat on the back. A really great feeling comes from doing something like this, and it can be such a wonderful feeling that we want to share that feeling, ya know? It's not always about looking for a pat on the back!!

                        BTW, I wouldn't have paid his bill, but that's because I'm almost constantly broke.

                    2. Thankyou for your story and your lovely act of kindness. It is as much fun to do things like this for strangers as it is to be on the receiving end. Who is truly qualified to judge whether or not a stranger should be "taught a lesson" or to decide who is deserving of a freely given gift? Everyone will at some point be in need of a simple act of dignity and human kindness without strings attached.

                      1. A wise person once said, to paraphrase ... "Good deeds become awkward boasting when posted on Internet boards."

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Ha! I was wondering if this posting would rapidly turn into a series of posts along the lines of: "You think THAT'S nice, well, check out what I did!"

                          I mean, yeah, I would have done that too, but I would have ALSO sent over a bottle of champagne and.. and.. cab fare,,, and...

                        2. If I were in the position to help that couple, I would, but apparently I shouldn't dare ask my fellow hounds if they'd ever commit a random act of kindness lest I risk getting publicly flogged.

                          Here's hoping that young man pays it forward :)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: maplesugar

                            Very sweet gesture, and since this is all so anonymous, not really bragadocious sharing this with us. If anything it gives us all something to think about..

                          2. I know what it's like to have less than $18 in the bank. It does not involve trying to take someone out for lunch.

                            Hate me and despair for humanity (I know I do), but I wouldn't have gone out of my way for this couple.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                              Maybe by "very young," the OP means the guy was 12. Then, maybe.

                              Because I am a horrible person, I immediately thought of this guy:


                              1. re: small h

                                Oh! My favorite quote from the article:

                                :"It sounds like a bad date to me," Jones said."

                                Um, yeah. I'd say so. :)

                                Funny, small h.

                                1. re: small h

                                  Oh my lord..... now WHO would go out on a date with someone who they did not even knnow his NAME... and hand him teh keys to her car? And I thought I was a push over.

                                  1. re: small h

                                    and I would guess his age at 17... younger than my son.

                                2. Nice, gryphonskeeper. I was once at a chinese restaurant and after the meal I couldn't find my credit card to pay the check for me and my friend. I used my bank debit card instead and thank goodness there was enough to cover it without any pain later. Banks get enough money from fees these days. Turns out the clerk at the Electronics Boutique had forgotten to return my card after I bought something right before we went to eat. And like an idiot, I didn't notice that I didn't get the card back. I'm extra vigilant about that now. Another time I got a sixty dollar charge on my credit card for something I had bought five months ago. It was the card I always prefer to use when eating out. When I saw the charge I was mad, and the first thing I thought of was how glad I was I hadn't been humiliated at a restaurant. If I had been in your shoes, I don't know if I would have had the money to help that guy out, but I would have some empathy for him. A lot of times the preauthorization for the card is for a larger amount in case the customer wants to leave a charge tip. That is probably what happened to him. Glad you were there to help him out in such a discrete way and show some mercy to a chow pup.

                                  1. a few years back I was in line at the grocery store when a woman in front of me with a young infant came to pay for her groceries. She opened her purse and said, 'oh no, I brought the purse without my wallet'. The checkout girl had already bagged everything and offered to keep her goods while the shopper went home to get the right purse. I could see it would be a real pain for her with the baby so I offered to pay. The woman took my address and promised to mail me a check. It was about $25 so I figured I could afford to lose it. The check and a thank you note arrived in my mailbox about 2 days later.

                                    17 Replies
                                      1. re: smartie

                                        This happened to me! The bill was only $3, and the person said, "Just help someone when you can." I was v. grateful, and certainly helped someone as soon as the situation arose.

                                          1. re: CookieLee

                                            I heard once on a local radio station in NH, that one day a person in line at a Dunkin Donuts paid for the person behind him, and then the person behind him did the same, and it went on for an hour. I bet it made everyone feel good.

                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                              I do that during the holidays when we're road-trippin' to the Grandparents. We almost always stop at either a Starbucks or some fast food place for lunch on the road, and it's usually pretty funny to watch the reaction behind you (in drive-thru's with a two-window system). We've learned to make sure to tell the cashier to tell the driver that "no, we don't know them, we just hope they've having a good drive."

                                              1. re: shanagain

                                                How do you know what the bill will be to pay for it in advance?

                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                  It's easy - usually, you pay while the car behind you is ordering. By the time you've paid, just ask what their bill is, and tell the cashier you'd like to pick it up.

                                                  The only issue I've run into is that some places (McD's) have a hard time running a card twice in a row, so it's easier to do with cash.

                                                  1. re: shanagain

                                                    somebody in several stores last week managed to swipe a clone of my debit card around 40 times at $54 and change getting away with it. I wondered how the stores accept the same card 15 times in a row with the same exact price?

                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                      That's crazy! I went through a drive through not long ago for my husband's Arby's craving, and then realized I'd forgotten something, so went back about 10 minutes later, and they had to do an override because the system showed I'd been there recently.

                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                        Probably because it was an employee or friend of one. I would contact the store and your credit card company and file for an investigation into the cashier.

                                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                          It was a DEBIT not credit card. Debits are considered "unsecured loans" and don't have the protection of credit cards. The store may help; I think it's unikely the bank will.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Thankfully that depends on your bank - most banks are much better at offering debit security than they used to be.

                                                            1. re: shanagain

                                                              The account we use when we travel is excellent in that regard.

                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                              I think someone did the same with my debit card when I was at JFK airport a few years ago. Someone used the card to make a long-distance phone call elsewhere in the airport and I had no trouble getting the charge removed.

                                                      2. re: KTinNYC

                                                        at a drive-thru the order for the car behind you has usually been entered by the time you're paying/picking yours up.

                                                    2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                      That phenom took place at a Starbucks a few years abck:

                                                      BLOOMINGTON - Call it the spirit of the season. For more than three hours Tuesday, drive-through customers at the Starbucks on Bloomington's east side didn't pay for the coffee they ordered.
                                                      Rather, as each customer reached the drive-through window, he or she was told the order had been paid by the driver who had just pulled away.
                                                      By the time it was over, about 142 people had spread the Christmas spirit.

                                                      Reminds me of a story of two buddies hunting and one gets bitten in the butt by a snake. The one not bitten calls a ranger and is told he has to suck the venom out to save his life. When the guy with the bite in the butt asked what the ranger said, his friend gently whispered... 'you gonna die'.

                                                      I think all the naysayers here would be like that, and I am pleased not to know them. Sad.

                                                      The rest of us can try this out for the upcoming holidays:

                                                2. That was very nice of you... if I had the money and happened to overhear a conversation like that I'd help them out too. And yes, I've paid for groceries for the person in front of me too, bought food for total strangers and helped out people in need just because it's the right thing to do... it breaks my heart to see a person in need and NOT be able to help them in some way.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. I would've done what you did except for the lecture to the young man. His humiliation was enough to keep him on his toes next time, hopefully. The awkwardness of a first date is enough to bear without adding financial disgrace. You did good.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                      If I'm reading OP correctly, there was no lecture, just a bit of secret dealing with the staff, and the young man was supposed to figure out by himself, somehow, eventually, what happened and what lesson to take from that.

                                                      If it were my son, I'd be grateful to GK but you can bet he'd get a lecture if I ever found out about it!

                                                      1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                        this is WHY I did it... I HAVE a young son, and I have been that person, humiliating to say teh least.

                                                    2. What a sweet thing to do! I hope you'll let some of the comments here roll off your back, we all see things in our own way. I gathered from your post that you were tickled by being able to be in the right place at the right time to do this good deed. Then, because we're sort of anonymous here, it felt like a safe place to tell about it and encourage others to tell of their similar experiences. It doesn't seem the same as talking about it around the water cooler at work.

                                                      I saw your story as a "feel good" and actually would enjoy reading about the ways folks here have been able to extend such kindnesses. I LIKE that mushy stuff!

                                                      Watch out, haters, I feel a "Chicken Soup for the Chowhound's Soul" coming on.
                                                      (The collective shudder just knocked me off my feet. :) )

                                                      Seriously, GK, keep on keepin' on and doing what you do.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: fern

                                                        I agree - reading about your kindness warmed my heart. Thank you.

                                                        1. re: fern

                                                          Me too! Thanks for sharing. I hope I am in a financial situation one day where I am able to do nice things for people like that. I know it doesn't take much but I don't have much.

                                                          A tip for the do gooders though. The way gryphonskeeper did it was lovely. I would be mortified if anyone tried to 'help' me to pay for something. When I was married I was often at the checkout line with a card that didn't work. I would not want someone to help me though as I would feel like a charity case. In my case it would not have been a simple error it would have been a simple husband blowing all the money and not telling me. I would not have been in a position to pay the money back so I wouldn't borrow.... sorry I'm going on and on. Just wanted to make sure that when people do nice things they leave a persons pride in tact as this person did in this nice storey.

                                                          1. re: julesincoq

                                                            I think the simplest way to do this is to just smile, say "pay it forward," and let everyone move on quickly with their dignity in act.

                                                        2. I have mixed feelings about this because I dated a lot of guys like that when I was in my college years/early twenties. They'd take me out on a nice date the first time and then from that period on couldn't afford to do anything. It was really frustrating dating guys who would come over, plunk down on my couch, and say we were just going to have to stay there unless I forked out the cash to do anything. As a date, I feel like I would rather know that the guy couldn't pay the bill than have a mysterious patron pay and then the server comes back saying it's okay. I think it's great you paid, don't get me wrong, but I don't approve of the lying.

                                                          If you don't have enough money to pay to go to dinner, there are plenty of other fun, inexpensive/free options for dates. I think that's an important lesson for young people to learn.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                            I agree with you about kids needing to learn to live within their means and enjoy life without spending. It's just that in this case the OP had the feeling this was a good kid who just goofed up his budget. If it turns out he's like those guys you described, then he may not learn anything valuable. But he may just be a good kid who needed a boost and will never, after that mortifying experience, allow that to happen again.
                                                            And in the end, it's often not about that for the giver, anyway. OP saw a difficult situation, felt for the couple, stepped in to help. Period.

                                                            I hope he doesn't end up being like those guys from college! I guess we'll never know. Good riddance to those years, yes!?

                                                            1. re: fern

                                                              I agree. It should be taken as a good deed and not examined too closely. I didn't think the OP was bragging about it.

                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                I'm not saying that it wasn't a good deed, but I think that as the young man's date, I'd want to know what I was getting into. It could very well have been an honest mistake, but I've just been with too many guys who spend every cent they have immediately and then end up broke for the next 13 days until the next paycheck comes in.

                                                          2. "I know what its like to have less than $18 in the bank"…
                                                            That is the poignant part. You did a great deed. A Buddhist would think that deed facilitates your next reincarnation greatly !
                                                            Once in a restaurant in Hong Kong, I was introduced by my friends to a, well, celibrity in his part of the world, sitting at a neighboring table. It turns out he in turn had heard about something I had done, and he wanted to make a gesture of appreciation. After the introductions he sat down at his own table and I mine. But he quietly picked up the tab for my entire table of 6. When time came for us to pay, the waiter smiled and whispered that Mr Jim Wong had already paid. It was indeed a very elegant gesture. Bravo again, gryphonskeeper.

                                                            1. Good for you! It's always so nice to help another person out that's in need. If only people would remember that kindness is often repaid in kindness.

                                                              1. Wow, what a bunch of cynics (you know who you are). I was completely touched by your story. A boast implies recognition. I assume your real name is not "gryphonskeeper" and therefore we have the benefit of your story without anyone with half a brain suggesting you are looking for recognition. All these negative posters are not only "Monday morning quarterbacks" minutely analyzing a kind deed performed on the spur of the moment, but they fail to properly appreciate the adsurdity of their postition...would you leave a pedestrian lying on the road because to help him/her would not teach him some lesson about being more careful. There are a thousand reasons why this guy had his card declined. Happens to me all the time because of my travels. . Don't judge the card owner or the poster. Celebrate the random act of kindness. One tradition that has happened in my part of the world is the practice of paying for the coffee etc of the guy behind you. According to those that work at such drive ins, this can carry on for ten or more people in a row. Everyone including the employees leaves that drive thrgouh with a smile. GK you did the right thing and a good thing and you must ignore the self righteous curmudgeons to thier sad fates. I have done precisely the same thing...and my name is not really foodiesnorth!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: foodiesnorth

                                                                  I agree. I have seen many other posts on CH that seemed (to me) to be far more egregious episodes of bragging than this small act of kindness.

                                                                  I liked your story GK. :)

                                                                2. That was a very nice mitzvah. And doing it without a desire for recognition is a higher form of mitzvah.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    hm, isn't making ricepad's (and others) day a little brighter a mitzvah too though?
                                                                    It's a mitzvah-off!

                                                                  2. gryphonskeeper, you have made my day a little bit brighter. Thank you.

                                                                    1. Very lovely gesture gryphonskeeper ! Hopefully he will remember this gesture down the road, and repay with some act of kindness towards a stranger.

                                                                      I do think the young man already humiliated himself however, by blurting out that he only had $17 in his bank account. That ship had sailed.

                                                                      I'm going to try and not question the fact that he would take such a risk when he had such little money in his account to begin with, perhaps his dream date finally said yes on the worst day possible. If that were me, i'd be obsessively dialing my bank account in fear that something would swoop in there at the last minute and clean out what little was in there , so I wouldn't have been able to relax and enjoy myself anyway.

                                                                      Borrow some money dude, or take your date for a lovely walk in the park or something.

                                                                      25 Replies
                                                                      1. re: im_nomad

                                                                        And why didn't the date offer to pay when the server said the guy's card had been "declined"?

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          The OP says that the date was fumbling through her purse to try to find cash as well. It's beyond me why you'd go on a date and have absolutely no money on you. Even if you expect the guy to pay, you never know what might happen along the way that might need cash/CC to pay for an unforeseen mishap.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            OP said they were pulling out cash - wonder if she had a credit/debit card - she must have had one.

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              Given all the homogenous equality diatribes spouted by some on the boards on another thread, why was there only one card, his, that was paying for the dinner? Sorry ladies jfood could not resist. :-))

                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                You'll get no argument from me, kid. I'm one of those old "women's libbers," ya know.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  jfood knew he could count on ya.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    Step one: burn bra
                                                                                    Step two: remove debit card from purse (or plain wallet if you're a true 'radical')
                                                                                    Step three: pay for meal

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      i've never understood women who always expect their date to pay for everything, particularly in this day & age.

                                                                                      i have a good friend in LA - single, male, late 30's, successful and financially stable, all-around great catch - who's apparently been attracting a lot of gold-diggers in his dating escapades lately. he said he wants to create an iPhone app called the "Reach or Screech" that will zap a woman who doesn't at least make a move for her wallet :)

                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                        From our first date until today after 10 years of marriage, I do expect Dh to pay. The exception is his birthday, an occasional lunch invite on my part and the occasional bar tab.

                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                              Ah. When we had a big disparity, we just co-mingled everything. One big pot. Different strokes....

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                He pays all the bills. My income is for my personal expenses. It works for us. My days of co-mingling ended with my first marriage. Same for him.

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  mrs jfood keeps the fun account and jfood keeps the un-fun account. two weeks in Italy from the fun account. jfood loves her.

                                                                                      2. re: jfood

                                                                                        Well, j, speaking as a knee-jerk feminist, if the guy invites, he pays. If I invite, I pay. I think this is pretty standard these days. The host/inviter pays the tab, regardless of gender.

                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          This is just too hard for an old dog to comprehend::

                                                                                          - different sexes, person who invites pays
                                                                                          - two guys; one flies, the other buys
                                                                                          - two ladies, they split the bill

                                                                                          Dear Abby Come Home Please!!! :-))

                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                            When I lunch with my female friends, the inviter pays, unless it's clear that you're organizing a get together, not hosting. I'm puzzled by your "two guys" example -- one runs away, leaving the other to pay?

                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                              "you fly, I buy" = one person drives and the other picks up the tab.

                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                I'm ashamed that I had such a low interpretation of "one flies, one buys." My mind is in the gutter.

                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                  or like one guy bought the tix so the other guy pays for beer and chow. And two ladies split the bill according to who had what. Happens all the time.

                                                                                            2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                              Oh, boy, er, girl. So if I invite a woman to go to dinner --- as in "hey, wanna go to dinner tonight," then I (another woman) should pay for both of us? I just don't think a dinner invitation implies one person buys. What about "hey, I'm going to Paris next spring; wanna go too?"

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                I agree completely there. I have groups of female friends who get together for lunch frequently and I never expect the planner to pay. I'm usually the last to find out, so I'd never have to pay and the others who are more proactive would always end up paying. It doesn't seem fair to me.

                                                                                                I think even on dates, going dutch most of the time isn't all that uncommon. In many cases you don't necessarily have parity in terms of income/spending power and often times it makes sense just to pay for yourself.

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  Ah, the delicate nuances of language. Men never seem to get this right, but women usually do. (Please excuse blatant sexism, fellows.) "Hey, let's get together for lunch" is a suggestion, not an invitation. "Could you join me for lunch next week?" is an invitation, as is, "Would you like to have lunch next week?" A veritable minefield.

                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                    jfood likes "there is no such thing as a free lunch."

                                                                                        2. That was a lovely gesture indeed! Bravo.

                                                                                          1. paying for anyone is a nice thing to do.

                                                                                            but foisting a job upon the manager to (1) lie, (2) teach the boy a lesson is not nice. the restaurant deserves to be paid for what these two ordered. they do not need to lie or teach anyone lessons in adding/subtracting at a good samaritan's request.

                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: dtud

                                                                                                While I agree with you, it's not that rare a thing to happen. Food service is a people industry, and some of the most successful at it are excellent in their people skills.
                                                                                                For example, just because OP *asked* the manager to speak with the young man doesn't mean he'll actually do it...

                                                                                                1. re: dtud

                                                                                                  I was not trying to lecture him, just let him know... as a mom of a young man I know he would rather hear it from a stogy old manager, than a mother figure.

                                                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                    Not only that, but it gave the manager the opportunity to salvage a little of the young man's pride...small recompense for the server's ham-handed treatment of the declined card.

                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                      How else is the server supposed to handle the situation? The card had been declined and the server had to get some other type of payment. I know I was on the opposite side of the fence as most when I said the manager shouldn't have gone to the table, but either way I don't think there was another reasonable way for the server to handle it.

                                                                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                                                                        A couple of months ago, my MIL had a stroke and needed to go to a rehab center. She "needed" (ha) new clothes. So I went to two stores in an hour's time and spent $1200, buying two different sizes of slacks and tops using my credit card. The following day when I went to buy some routine items, the card had a hold on it due to the large and speedy purchases of the day before. Not a surprise. I used a different card (my Costco Amex) or could have used my debit card. Yes, queencru, how else should a merchant handle it?

                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                          I'd have called the young man away from the table and advised him of the decline away from his date or instead of using the 'd' word, put it more delicately and asked if he had another form of payment.

                                                                                                          1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                            The date doesn't have an IQ of 3. She would have figured out if the server asked for some other form of payment that the card was declined. When someone actually pulls a diner away, I assume that something really grave has happened- a relative is hurt/dead, or some crime has been committed to the car/home and the police/relative had to call the restaurant to get in touch with the person ASAP.

                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                              I wasn't questioning the date's IQ I was simply suggesting that there are more TACTFUL ways to deliver the message.

                                                                                                              1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                Exactly. If I'd been buying a meal rather than shopping when my credit card was declined, I just expect the effected party to speak up and we'll deal with it. There's no reason for anyone to be embarassed regardless of one's age. S**t happens :)

                                                                                                          2. re: queencru

                                                                                                            "Excuse me, sir...there's a telephone call for you..."

                                                                                                            "Excuse me, sir...you've left the headlights of your car on..."

                                                                                                            Just about anything is better than announcing loudly enough for people at another table to overhear. (Of course, then gryphonskeeper would not have had the chance to brighten my day!)

                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                              There are many ways that the server could have been more tactful. In my restaurant, we always avoid using the word "declined". Instead, we'll say something like, " I apologize, but for some reason we are unable to get this card to go through. Is there any other form of payment you have available?" It's basically saying the same thing, but without the connotation of "you're declined, you pathetic loser." It's important to smile and be as pleasant as possible -- to act like it's no big deal -- becuase ego's are fragile and I've never felt the need to kick some one when they're vulnerable.

                                                                                                              Now, when other forms of payment are unavailable, I would move the conversation away from the table and ask for the kid's name and phone number and ask him to sign an IOU. Everyone I've done this for has been appreciative and I've never been burned.

                                                                                                              1. re: chefbeth

                                                                                                                I have had this happen to a debit card when I knew there was 10k available. It was so embarrassing, I asked they send it through again. meanwhile I checked the total on my crackberry. It was declined again. I asked they do it once more and it went through. Sometimes they do mess up. I am actually shocked they ran it through three times.

                                                                                                                1. re: chefbeth

                                                                                                                  I don't think that really makes much of a difference though. The card is declined and anyone with a lick of common sense can tell that's the case. I've had strings of a few days where a card has been declined repeatedly for no reason other than some computer glitch. It happens to everyone. I don't really think it's kicking someone down to say the card is declined.

                                                                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                    Yeah, as I wrote upthread, $hit happens. It's happened to me, you, others --- why get embarassed?

                                                                                                                  2. re: chefbeth

                                                                                                                    I totally agree, chefbeth. I work in Vegas at a major Strip hotel. The word "declined" is a big no-no, but with a bit of an exception. The words we use are: "I'm sorry, but we are unable to get an authorization on this card right now. Do you happen to have another card you'd like to use?" That's alot of words. I've had numerous guests over the years reply with "HUH?? What do you mean?" We are to repeat this 3 times, and if the guest is still clueless (sorry, but that's the only way to describe it) we are then given the okay to speak frankly. "I'm sorry, your card was declined. You should contact your bank to learn details"

                                                                                                                    The issue can be very tricky. I never enjoy breaking the news, but sometimes it's an easy answer, like the CVV code is incorrect. Sometimes people forget to activate their card. Sometimes people know full well they are close to, or over their limit- and make a big stink when we let them know the card didn't go thru.

                                                                                                                    I feel for the kid, and bet he'll never make that mistake again!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Honeychan

                                                                                                                      When I was a server, it was always something vague (and face-saving) like, "I'm sorry, but for some reason, we couldn't get the transaction to go through on this card. Do you have another we could try?" I tried to imply with my intonation that it was _my_ incompetence/broken machine, rather than their low bank balance, that was causing the problem.

                                                                                                                      Other times, esp. if I thought someone was on a date or an important business meeting, I would turn the receipt over and write, "I'm so sorry, your card was declined, would you like to try another?" and pass this note to the payer inside the bill holder. They seemed to appreciate the opportunity to save face this way.

                                                                                                          3. Thanks for sharing that charming story.

                                                                                                            I even have a theory about why this may have happened. Many gas stations put a hold on money in an account beyond what is actually paid. (For details, here's an article: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/...). So if the kid filled his car with gas earlier in the day, he may well have had the funds in his account, but just not accessible.

                                                                                                            In any case, they got a quick lesson in 'Be prepared' (that's about the age I learned about keeping an hidden twenty in my wallet, for emergency use only), and you get kudos for a kind and thoughtful deed.

                                                                                                            1. I guess maybe posting it here was the wrong thing to do, but I felt so good about it I wanted to see how many others out there could relate to me. I did not know I was doing something viewed as selfish by sharing.. I thought paying it forward and asking others to do so was a good thing, and I will keep that in my heart, but I won't let it pass my lips again lest I be smacked in the face for it.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                Ignore the negative posts. You did the right thing both in your good deed and posting to which the majority of posts attest.

                                                                                                                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                  I am glad you shared the story! As this post has shown, there are many who let cynicism override kindness.

                                                                                                                  When I was a teen a manager at the cafeteria at my place of employment knew I was broke, on my own and hungry. He saw I was trying to work hard and make it. He found a way to offer help in a way which I could accept and not feel like a mooch. He helped - a lot. I would have gone hungry many days if not for his kindness.

                                                                                                                  It took me a few years to realize just how much thought he put into how the gift was presented. Which made me even more appreciative. This act of kindness made a huge impact on me and helped form my world view - if you have the ability to make a difference, do it!

                                                                                                                  To the cynics, making a difference is different than bailing out a putz or being a doormat. There are often opportunities to act in ways that can make a huge difference in someones life. I enjoy the times I can be in a position to "pay it forward".

                                                                                                                  So Gryphonskeeper - you rock!

                                                                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                    thank you for that... I was really upset after reading some posts, it made me almost ashamed.of myself.

                                                                                                                  2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                    This is the first time I've read this thread, but as others have said, ignore the negative posts. What you did was a lovely gesture; one I'm sure the young man will remember and, hopefully, pay it forward when he is able.

                                                                                                                    I hope that I would do the same as you did. Would that there were more people like you, gryphonskeeper. Keep your chin up - you done good. :-)

                                                                                                                  3. GK: Your story made my day. :) I can't believe people have negative things to say and have to put such a rotten spin on a simple act of kindness.
                                                                                                                    I've been that person with less than $18 once too. My now ex boyfriend took a LOT of money from me and I am now trying to repair my life. But I believe in KARMA. And hopefully that young man will take your wonderful act of kindness and help someone else out when they see someone that needs it.

                                                                                                                    I have been humbled by the many acts of kindness from my friends and even strangers in my darkest of times. It is those little sprinkles of stars in the midnight sky that help you see that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel.

                                                                                                                    Thank you for sharing your story so we can remember to be kind and be thankful for what we have. :)

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: bostonfoodie111

                                                                                                                      this is what I mean! those small things make mountains, THANK YOU!!!

                                                                                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                        Truly, it is an honor to read such a lovely post. :) Especially when you feel like your life is falling apart all around you, it's nice to hear about an act of kindness. :)

                                                                                                                    2. A very nice thing to do.

                                                                                                                      About 2 years ago I had just been downsized for the second time in a year. I was very frightened of our money situation. I was shopping in Target and had enough spare cash to treat myself to a pumpkin latte at Starbucks there. (I have a weakness for them.) A little old lady who had no concept of Starbucks was standing there looking at the sign and she remarked to me that my coffee smelled good, but it was so expensive. She was looking in her change purse. I took my last bit of cash from my pocket, which was enough for another cup, and bought her one. She was so happy, and it made me feel good.

                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: irishnyc

                                                                                                                        I was in line behind a teenage boy who was buying Christmas gifts at Borders a few years ago. He was short a dollar. I stepped up and told the cashier I'd cover it. The kid was blown away, and my daughter learned a valuable lesson. This cost me nothing, basically, but lots of good resulted from this small effort, I think. Sometimes little gestures speak loudest.

                                                                                                                        1. re: irishnyc

                                                                                                                          Irish, In Seattle last year, a lady in a drive-thru Starbucks pre-paid for the drink of whoever was behind her in the next car. That person then did the same thing. This chain went on without being broken for over 4 days at that Starbucks location.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Leper

                                                                                                                            so this must have been something like

                                                                                                                            customer drives up....
                                                                                                                            (barista)...."welcome to Starbucks, the person in front of you has bought you a medium beverage, would you like to add a muffin or cruller to your order today?"

                                                                                                                            customer "Why yes I would... and please add a medium coffee for the person behind me"

                                                                                                                            and this would go on and on, until someone decides Wow... free coffee! screw the guy behind me... I got mine FREE!

                                                                                                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                              It's not true, however there was an incident I cited on the thread earlier that proved a 4 hour run like this. Four days would mean that it continued the next three days after closure.

                                                                                                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                Well, to be kind, gryphonskeeper, one time the guy in front of us paid our toll on the Mackinac Bridge--I think it was $2.50--and we were just so amazed that we didn't pay it forward...and later on had the "d'oh" moment. So it might not have been selfishness.

                                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                  Nothing wrong with that... I have had MANY a D"OH moment in my life!

                                                                                                                          2. It was a wonderful gesture. I love hearing this stuff. It reminds me to keep my eyes open for the chance to do something similar, and who doesn't need a (forgive the horrid expression) warm fuzzy?

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                              I do too. I am big into random acts of kindness. And I think this thread is a good reminder that it's easy and relatively inexpensive to make a stranger's day.

                                                                                                                              For several years, whenever I go through a drive-thru, I pay for the person behind me. I started this on a day I was feeling particularly great and it has gone on from there. Except for the internet, it's my little secret I have never shared with friends or family.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                I heard once on a local radio station in NH, that one day a person in line at a Dunkin Donuts paid for the person behind him, and then the person behind him did the same, and it went on for an hour. I bet it made everyone feel good.

                                                                                                                            2. Lovely deed! Would I do the same thing, probably so. I have two sons that when in their teens would probably not be as good about keeping track of their balance and forget about minor things like service charges & fees coming out first. Thankfully they are in tune now with banking now. But it takes awhile to figure that stuff out when your young, it's called experience. That young man probably didn't account for those fees. His humiliation was more than enough reprimand.

                                                                                                                              As far as telling us the story about what you did and posing the question what would we do? Thank you! I by far want to hear about a good deed and people setting a good example. Good for you!

                                                                                                                              1. I love this story! Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: AimeeD

                                                                                                                                  Gryphon, your gesture was heatwarming. I would have done the same in your position. That young man and his date will always remember your simple act of kindness, and posting it here reminds us all that we should look for opportunities to be the same way. I will reserve my comments for the nay-sayers -- these are not ladylike words.

                                                                                                                                  When I was invited on a first date back in 1985, the guy asked ME to drive to the restaurant (not a good sign). At the end of the meal, he hesitated when he handed over his credit card, admitting that he wasn't sure if it would be declined. The charge went through. The rest of the story? He turned out to be my soulmate and I married him 10 months later (he had poor night vision and I was lucky he had even been able to drive to my apartment in the dark that night). After that first night, he changed jobs, earned 3 times what I did, and supported me happily for the rest of his life. The reason he was so unsure about his card? He paid off his balance every month, regardless of the total, and had mailed the check a day later than usual. Just thought I would point out that things are not always what they seem.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                                    :sniff:: I am sorry for the loss of your dear husband.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                      Thanks, Janet. Indeed, he was a "keeper". I wasn't going to let a good one get away!

                                                                                                                                2. We were doing a catering job about an hour's drive away from the restaurant. We'd accumulated a list of things we realized we needed from the restaurant in-between lunch and dinner at this job. My wife got into the car to go. Halfway to the restaurant, she realized that she needed gas -- the indicator light was on -- and she also discovered that she'd not brought her purse.

                                                                                                                                  She couldn't reach me because her cell phone was in her purse. She did what she had to... she stopped at no fewer than four gas stations. None of them would even allow her to use a phone to call me, much less give her a few bucks worth of gas on credit, to get home! It was a customer in a luncheonette (one that finally allowed her to use the phone) who heard what she was saying to me on the phone and immediately gave her $10 for gas. The guy was sweet and instructed her *not* to go back to any of the gas station's that'd refused to "front" her $5 worth of gasoline. He saved me from having to leave the job and drive to my wife.

                                                                                                                                  I looked this person up. I wanted to do more than just return the money in the mail. We looked him up and ended up taking he and his wife out to dinner. They insisted upon paying for their part of the bill, too. Of course, we didn't let that happen.

                                                                                                                                  My wife used to be more cynical than me about people out in public who're short money. This situation turned us both around, and I'm glad to be able to say that we've had a couple of opportunities to help out others since. Sadly, one of those times the money wasn't returned, but it's okay.

                                                                                                                                  Finally, I don't work the usual 9 to 5 when there're lines at Dunkin' Donuts, so it's going to be a while until I can pay for the person driving behind me but I plan to do that as soon as I get the chance. That sounds like a great thing to do!

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                                    This is a good reminder for all of us. Thank you for sharing this story.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                                      That is an awesome story, I too once forgot my purse, and needed gas, lucky for me this was years ago when you could pump first then pay...this was when gas was only .99 cents a gallon, and it was only an 8 dollar tab because I always put in half a tank. I pumped and realized I forgot my wallet, I did not even have a license to leave with the clerk, and he threatened to call the police, I had just had my son and I was in a panic thinking I would be arrested and I offered my watch, my shoes and my coat as collateral. He called the manager who said "Just write down the amount, and if she doesn't come back, I will cover it"

                                                                                                                                      I came back a couple hours later and paid it. I was so afraid at the time I was going to get arrested for being a fool and forgetting my wallet, thank GOD for good managers who have a heart. I had actually forgotten about this until your post reminded me...

                                                                                                                                    2. After reading the entire post, I am stunned at the negative responses to your act of kindness, GK. What could possibly be wrong with doing something nice for someone? I simply do not understand; and after thinking about this for a while, I hope that I never understand this cynicism.

                                                                                                                                      I was on a food-related business trip to another city at least a dozen years ago. Our group of ten was seated at a special table in the restaurant, which, coincidentally, was filled with HS pre-prom diners - easy to tell because they were so uptight and over-dressed. After watching one young couple in particular, I realized that the young man was eating a very spare meal. When his date excused herself to powder her nose, I leaned over to ask if there was something wrong. He answered that he hadn't realized how expensive the restaurant was, etc. I invited him to have a steak on me. He was totally surprised and after a couple of minutes of chat, happily accepted.

                                                                                                                                      All these years later, it cheers me to recall his complete surprise and happy grin. I've done this since and retain the warm snugglies as a result.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                        I, too, am sorry to see the negative responses to the OP. Oh well, we'll just keep on doing our things, yes? I have enjoyed reading about the things others have done, as well. For me, it's good to be reminded how much the small things matter and how easily they can be done. And how creative people are!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: fern

                                                                                                                                          that is what I am saying the small things people do can make the biggest impact on people.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                          that is so sweet... remember those years? ugh I am so glad I am not a teen dating today.

                                                                                                                                        3. Your story made my day!

                                                                                                                                          I see nothing wrong in sharing this story...in fact, seeing as how you restored or reaffirmed many people's faith in mankind's ability to do good, I would see you sharing this story as a good deed in itself!

                                                                                                                                          1. this whole thread (minus the naysayers) cheered me up. i also think that doing good deeds sometimes does as much, or more, for the person who does them as the recipient. And I understand your wanting to share the warm fuzzies you created. It's only human, and it's not necessarily always tooting your own horn. I think it's just a nice reminder that hey, people are not always terrible to each other, especially strangers.

                                                                                                                                            1. Good job!

                                                                                                                                              To the lecturers: Don't assume card-declined equals deadbeat. I had mine declined once on about a $7 tab at El Chicos.

                                                                                                                                              Reason: I was snapping up a $1,000 I Bond online each day while the interest rate was good, and Discover shut my card down after 5 days in a row because they feared fraud. I had a message from Discover waiting for me at home. I verified the $5,000 in charges and was good to go again.

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Remander

                                                                                                                                                I don't think we are implying they are deadbeats. Caught unaware, very much so. A valuable lesson, too.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Remander

                                                                                                                                                  Just to clarify, the OP indicated that the card-declined individual piped up and said clearly that he had only $17 in the account to begin with.................

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                    Ohmy..I haden't mentally processed that bit. NOT cool for him to do. Were they going to dine and dash, if nobody had stepped up and paid? Why would anyone who -knew- they had so little $$ do that? The mind boggles.

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I remember what it was like to have less than $20 in the bank account. I stayed home.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Honeychan

                                                                                                                                                      honey I think he was just a young boy, with very little money trying to impress a girl. We have all been young, and MOST of us have been broke and can empathize with this boy.

                                                                                                                                                      I know my son has a debit account, and I repeatedly drill in his head, you always pretend you have $50 :LESS than what is in the account so you don't get the overdraft charges.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                                                                        Oh, I can empathize. Poor kid, I hope he can pay your kindness forward later when he can!
                                                                                                                                                        Smart advice you have given your son! I wish my own mother had drilled that into my head at an early age, would have saved me some major stress!

                                                                                                                                                2. I hardly consider buying a Starbucks coffee for the person behind you a "good deed" as in they need the help. Does everyone have fun with it? You bet.

                                                                                                                                                  1. When I was a kid, a long time ago when it was safer than today, I was at the candy store (liquor store) by myself. I went to pay. I had the money to cover everything. There was a policeman in front of me and he paid for my entire haul! Obviously, it made a huge impact on me.
                                                                                                                                                    After I had grown up, I was in line at a fast food joint. There was a policemen behind me.I looked the worker if he was an honest person. He replied that he is. So, I paid for the policeman's order! It was great! I love doing this. Every chance I get I try to pick up the tab for them. One time, I think the guy was doing a food run for his station. It was expensive, so worth it to me.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I've actually done this as well at restaurants and at check out lines at grocery stores, only because I've been in the position of the young kid and know what it's like to have $5 in the bank.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I have been on the receiving end of this. On a Sunday evening after work my friend and I went out to dinner. I went to get my money (cash) and I was embarassed because there wasn't any in my purse. I was so sure I had some. I asked my friend if she would cover me (I would see her tomorrow at work) and SHE didn't have any money. It turned out that a new person at work had taken everyone's cash and credit cards, and we didn't realize it until then. A man at the table next to us paid and wouldn't give us his address or name to pay him back. What a lovely thing to do. What a lovely thing you did.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I don't know why this post popped up (I think I was searching for Brisket), but after days of the crap coming out of D.C., I am heartened to hear of your generosity! To quote Caspar Gutmann in "Maltese Falcon": "There's not enough kindness in the world." You have a good heart, gryphonskeeper.

                                                                                                                                                          1. It is a nice thing this thread mysteriously resurfaced. This sets a very good example on how to treat your fellow human beings. It also gives an example on how one can graciously help others in need. Sometimes the moment comes up where you want to help but do not have the quick wits to figure out how, without causing embarrassment to the individual. I am sure somewhere, some more good deeds are done because of the OP shared this story.

                                                                                                                                                            1. All I can say is karma works. Now it might work invisible...like you weren't that corner where the speeding dump truck ran the red light so you are alive way. But it works.

                                                                                                                                                              I let people with few items ahead of me in check out, go first, I jump up and pay for a person who is a few cents or so short of me in the line. Pay it forward never fails.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I buy the servicemen beers when I'm at baseball game..does that count?
                                                                                                                                                                btw, I love what you did gryphonskeeper!
                                                                                                                                                                I am a true believer of karma and spreading love of beer and food to all..
                                                                                                                                                                ; )

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                  Always buy our friends in the military a beer when i see them at a pub or event. They deserve at least that much.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Today I was shopping at a discount produce store, the kind of place where they have great produce, bagged up and sold for a set price per bag. As I was checking out, the woman ahead of the woman in front of me, clearly did not have enough, to purchase the two bags of broccoli and one bag of peppers she had, She finally decided to get just the broccoli. The chow in me though bleck, boring and the chowhound in me, asked the cashier how much the peppers were ($4). I handed over the money and the woman was so surprised! I just said, pay it forward when you can. Then after the woman in front of me finished checking out ( I thought she would have been mad at me for delaying her check-out) She turned to me and gave me $2!! I thanked her for sharing the good deed with me. Now we have 3 really really happy people!
                                                                                                                                                                  The woman who got the peppers waited for me outside and was giddy in her thanks and amazement. Turns out she is a young immigrant from Africa, very new to life here. She offered her name and wanted to know what she could share with me. She gave me a wonderful hug. Boy that was so nice.

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                    to the original poster and excuse me if its been noted alredy

                                                                                                                                                                    the highest form of charity is to find someone a job thats unemployed

                                                                                                                                                                    the 2nd is to give anonymously

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for sharing this - it just made my day. I can't imagine the stress and confusion that trying to adapt to a new life in the USA is like for a new immigrant. Leaving all you have known must be a bit scary and lonely at times. Your generosity probably will last in her heart for years!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                        TY! It will last in my heart forever. I live by the rule that karma works, practice random acts of kindness, not "no kind deed goes unpunished". It gives me a rich life.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. You did a good thing. Flick off the naysayers. And BTW, last summer, I tried to purchase 28.00 worth of groceries with my debit card. I had thousands of dollars in the bank, but was declined. I paid cash, called my credit union, and got the glitch straightened out. No problem, except that the cashier said, in a stentorian voice that carried all the way to the back of the store (think an over-caffeinated Barbara Streisand, with a Valley Girl accent) "We can't take your card, you have insufficient funds!" What? Her cash register told her this?

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                        WOW I am shocked she had the brass tacks to say that. I know my card was declined recently for a measly $3.50 sandwich. I panicked calling my bank immediately at the register thinking someone had wiped out my account of a couple thousand dollars, turns out it was the terminal itself and my funds were fine and available. I tell you I was sweating bullets. But when my card was declined the counter person just said "I don't know why it won't go through, it says "contact financial institution" (or something like that) Boy does that strike fear into your heart in todays identity theft nightmare.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I think you did a very nice thing. And also agree with ignore the naysayers. One of the things I enjoy most is paying for the person behind me in line at Starbucks. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                        Though of course, one time my daughters were in line ahead of me and said at the window, "That's our Mom in line behind us. She'll pay for ours." LOL. We still joke about that. They were teenagers at the time, both out of cash and didn't realise it till it was time to pay. The next time we were at Starbucks in two cars, they were behind me and told the cashier not to take my money that they would pay for me.

                                                                                                                                                                        Good deeds beget good deeds. I subscribe to the whole "pay it forward" idea.