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How a Stranger Made My Day During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I thought it would take a lot for someone to make my day. But no; on a “normal” Thursday, someone bought my drink for $5.13 at the drive-thru. If only the driver knew how that impacted me.

It had been one of those days. My dad was sick with COVID-19 and my cat had the stomach bug. I got laid off from one job and picked up another with awful hours. I was running on one hour of sleep and was beyond fatigued. I was seeing double in-between blinks while waiting in a ridiculous line at the drive-thru. I guess I was just as overwhelmed as the others. I was convinced that some caffeine would get through the next few hours.

After 24 minutes in line, I rolled down my window and stuck my sweaty head out a few inches to order my drink.

Money was tights I had a crumpled one-dollar bill, three dollars-worth of quarters, ten dimes, two nickels and three pennies. I was happy to have scrounged up enough change so that I wouldn’t have to pull out my worn-out debit card. I had been plagued by unforeseen bills during COVID-19 and I was back to food pantries and researching food stamps. Again, it had been a long night at work, so I just wanted 8 ounces of sweet energy so that the headache would subside and I could breathe again.

Was buying this drink a bad idea? Should I have saved that money for something else? Oh well, too late.

I pulled up, and the masked and gloved barista told me that the driver in front of me paid for my drink. The emotions were building — I didn’t know what to say. The barista could see my wrinkled uniform and the pain in my eyes. Though I couldn’t see his mouth due to the mask, I knew he was smiling by the slight squint in his eyes. He walked away to get my drink and came back with a beverage twice the size of what I ordered and three small scones. He told me to hang in there, smiled one more time and promptly shut the sliding window.

I pulled off to the side, took one sip, one bite and I cried. It was a moment of kindness I will never forget. That $5.13 went a long way. Thank you, Ma’am or Sir. Stay healthy out there; I won’t forget you.

For more on the coronavirus, check out the following stories from our community:

Photo by Lukas Bato on Unsplash

Originally published: April 21, 2020
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