On paybacks

7 hours in the car yesterday could have been daunting but I totally enjoyed it. It gave me a break from the office routine, time and space to think, and a chance to go somewhere I’d never been before.  I was happy with my coffee, the chatty GPS and my jam-packed mp3 player.  When I tired of those, I had fun flipping through Detroit radio stations and reading signs for places like “Ypsilanti” and “Tecumseh.”

But the best part of my whole day was my encounter with a young fellow who waited on me in an Ann Arbor Restaurant;  I overheard him say he was a single father of three and just finishing up his shift so he could take his youngest to a Dr appt. The food was mediocre, the service superb, and the tip I left him … massive.

Why? Because I could.

yesterday’s route

Being a blessing to that young man blessed me.   When I got home, all stiff and tired, I went for a run. And I smiled the whole time.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who cannot pay you back.” Make a decision that you will live to give. Be on the lookout each day for somebody you can bless. Don’t live for yourself; learn to give yourself away, and your life will make a difference.” ―
Joel Osteen.
Categories: Attitude, Faith, Food, Joy, Life, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “On paybacks

  1. That young man will blessing you for a long time. And someday you will unexpectedly have something wonderful for you. 🙂
    P.S. Hope you enjoyed our Detroit radio stations.

    • I have to tell you, it was just pure fun. The amount I left won’t change his life by any stretch, but maybe it served as a little encouragement that good things can come along when you least expect them.

      I did enjoy the Detroit stations very much! I buzzed through politics, soul, talk radio and Praise. The Praise station stayed on as long as I could get the signal and if I hadn’t have been driving I would have obeyed the singer who said, “Sister lift your hands up in the air!” (Detroit Praise 102.7).


  2. That makes me smile big and get ready to go out for a run 🙂

    • Me, too. I’m still smiling just thinking about it. Sometimes it’s lonesome to travel by myself like that, on this day I was able to embrace the solitude and turn it into something fun. 🙂 MJ

  3. What a charming story, and a nice twist to the usual meaning of “payback”! Good for you, and good for that young waiter/dad! Happy Friday, happy weekend! ~ Sheila

    • Thank you, Sheila. It wasn’t that I did anything big and I think that’s the point of the quote – we can do something small that may feel big to someone else 🙂


  4. That is a long drive. Bless you for making that young father’s day. Your story is very humbling. My roommate in college–MSU–worked at Bill Knapp’s. Anytime we went out to eat she left a $5 tip, a fortune from my student eyes. She only commented–when I awkwardly prompted her– that working for BK made her want to give back to those who could be her co-workers. I must say this reminded me of her, and o.m.g.–Monroe is where my first college love was from.

    • Bill Knapp’s closed around the time we moved here but Meijer’s grocery chain carries their “celebration cakes” – yummy. I can relate to your friend’s story — and working my way through college in bars and restaurants, it’s those people like her that I remember most. Often the ones who gave the most generously had the least to give. I think when you’ve done the job your heart always stays with those who do it now. Monroe was a beauty of a town, and the fall colors, pumpkins and such and were picture-perfect!

  5. I absolutely LOVE this, MJ. And hubby and I do this quite often – like you said: just because we can. (One of my pet peeves is folks who are able to leave a decent tip and don’t!)

    • I had a feeling you and MM do this, too. My company paid for lunch and we have strong guidelines about tips, which is good. I paid the tip in cash separate from that line-item cause our Finance Manager would not have approved the %. I so remember the days when I didn’t have any spare anything so getting an extra $10, $20 etc felt like millions.

      I agree with your pet peeve; my boss is like that, so tight he squeaks!


  6. Oh, MJ, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this post. Blessing to both you and that young father! Have a great weekend, my friend.

    • He was a reminder to me of the times I’d struggled and how much it meant when someone broke out of their shell to be kind to me. Blessing him blessed me in more ways that you can imagine 🙂


  7. This morning an elderly lady/ probably in her mid 80’s stopped by our place to buy apples..I had just unloaded most of them yesterday somewhere else…but still had a bushel or so..when she asked me what she owed me I told “merry Christmas” didn’t owe me a should have seen the look on her face. She didn’t look too well off, and my heart went out to her…so when you’re telling us this story on your opportunity to bless that young man, I can totally relate to your joy. DM

    • Oh I love this, DM, I wish I could have been there to see her smile. You didn’t just make her day, you made her everything – you gave her the opportunity to know that there are still good people out in this world. Kudos to you for seeing the need and filling it … while preserving her dignity as well!


  8. That’s just like you to do such a thing. You’re proving the adage that it’s better to give than receive. Lovely.

    • Mom always told us that before we started feeling badly for ourselves we ought to just look around b/c there would always be someone else who was struggling more that we were. And she was right. It was fun to do as I did … and it made me think about other opportunities to give that I’ve missed.

      Cheers! MJ

  9. As I was finishing up reading this, I was thinking, “I wish I could find people to bless each day.”

    And then it occurred to me. DUH! They are there. I just need to open my eyes and see them.

    • “there they are!” 🙂

      I’m reading Joel Osteen’s book, “Everyday a Friday” and am really enjoying it … he writes about being a blessing, about waking up to find something good in every day, every one, even every experience.

      His words have very positively affected mine.


  10. Sitting here with happy tears and goose bumps. What a blessing you are to those you touch xoxoxo

    • Sandi I can’t help but think of you being in that Far East airport and witnessing a teen boy with that much older man who you were sure was ill-intentioned; I remember how you had the nerve to hand that young man your cell phone and tell him he could call anyone anywhere — while the older creep was in the bathroom. I’ve never forgotten your bravery and sheer humanity in that moment .. You are a blessing to me! MJ xo

  11. cooper

    in all the time I spent in Southfield I never made it out to Ann Arbor…or Lansing and beyond. I do remember spending a sub-zero January day standing on the shore of Lake St. Clair watching people ice-sail and thinking, “why would anyone want to spend time in single digit temps and wind chill coupled with a 60 mile an hour ride out in the open?”

  12. Good for you. There is way too little of this sort of thing going around. Hopefully it is be contagious.

  13. It sounds like you had a Divine appointment, MJ. 🙂

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