If you are not aware of Panera Bread’s Rapid Pick-up service, you are missing out. This handy little courtesy allows you to order and pay from an app on your phone and then when you arrive at the restaurant your meal is magically waiting for you on a special shelf. No waiting in line, no talking to anyone…practically perfect in my opinion. Thank goodness that Panera offers reasonably healthy options (stop thinking about the side baguette) because I’m embarrassed to admit how frequently I use this service. Anyway, on Monday as I swooped in to pick up my awaiting meal, I noticed that my bag was not alone so I quickly slipped the gift card into the other person’s bag. I felt pretty good until about the time I reached my car. What a short walk from confidence to doubt. Would it be gross to discover a stranger had put something in your bag of food? Even if it was a good something? Probably broke some kind of sanitation code…sorry Panera. I hope I’m not the reason they stop offering this service. I’ll admit it. This challenge was harder than I thought it would be.
Gift card number two was actually even harder. Maybe because by the time I gave it away I was so desperate to find a person to give it to that I was acting more like someone casing the joint to steal something than a good samaritan. I tossed ideas around with the good people with whom I share an office. They were very patient. It seemed like every option had a negative. I’d almost decided I was going to toss it out the window on my way home just to be rid of it like the ancient tiki idol that Peter and Bobby found in the Brady Bunch Hawaii episode. According to what I affectionately refer to as “THE 100”, “being nice can actually make you feel better physically…it not only makes you more calm and relaxed, it can also ease pain, increase your energy, and help ease stomachaches!” Obviously, I was doing this all wrong.
I finally decided within about five minutes of executing my plan what I was going to do. Driving from one library branch to another I realized I would pass a new local coffee shop. Hmmm, small place, only a couple of tables, no imminent sanitation violation, plus good coffee (bonus). As the barista made my latte I surreptitiously put the gift card on a table by the window. Someone would happen upon it and feel special…even if only briefly. I left in a couple of minutes with coffee in hand and a spring in my step. Lessons learned: 1. seize the moment 2. don’t overthink 3. it’s not about you.
Did you find a way to do something nice for someone without letting them know you did it? Let me know! If you are still reading these blog posts and haven’t told me then consider that a challenge accomplished. Thanks for reading!
Before you go…if you are not old enough to have seen the special Hawaiian three-parter on the Brady Bunch you now have an additional challenge. Watch that soon, it’ll make my ancient tiki idol reference make much more sense plus it might help you avoid unnecessary bad luck in the future.
4 thoughts on “It is Harder to Give Than to Receive”
Omg you are so funny and sincere at the same time!!!! The tiki idol comment made me LOL!! I’ve been tossing around ideas on what I’m doing and I’ve figured it out I think so now go execute! 😬 I will follow up later today – hoping it’s not an epic fail.
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Mission accomplished – in spirit. We decided to contribute to a great local organization with the funds we cashed in from our change jar. Unfortunately, I was going to have to go inside their office to do this, which I felt sort of violated part of the challenge; I had hoped to leave it in their mailbox with other mail, but the box was empty and I didn’t want to take the chance of the donation walking off – although I guess if it did then I would have fulfilled the mission completely, but not with the outcome we wanted. Anyway, I zipped into the office and got lucky because there was no one I recognized; I handed it to a person and told them who it was for and quickly left. As you experienced, some of the joy was lost when I had to think too much about the giving – the important thing was that we were helping a worthwhile cause and not accommodating my rule-following mindset. Ready for the next challenge!
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It turns out that it wasn’t so anonymous – I just thought the kid in the office didn’t know who I was. A few weeks later I received a very nice thank you note in the mail for my donation; they must have recognized me and tracked me down eventually. I guess the important thing is that I made a donation, not that I remained anonymous.