Drive-Thru Lines Are Not Meant For ‘Pay It Forward’
Listen, I’m all about people helping people but the “pay it forward” mantra has gone too far.
When it comes to the work force, I can get down with the concept of doing someone a favor in a professional setting in hopes of returning it down the road. There is an actual goal in mind when you begin that long con journey. Sure, I’ll pass along your younger siblings resume to my human resources department regarding a summer internship. Consider it done. Just keep my gesture of good will in mind when I make my move and call upon a favor far more lucrative than college school credit.
My issue with pay it forward is when it creeps into mundane parts of our lives. What motivational Instagram account are you following that told you it was a good idea to pick up the check for the car behind you at Starbucks? Odds are you looked in your rear view mirror, saw a skinny 20 something-year-old girl behind you and fantasized about this starting some sort of modern-day romance. In reality, you ended up buying a triple, venti, soy, no foam Latte with caramel drizzle for a basic bitch who puts their sunglasses on before they roll out of bed in the morning who won’t say hi to you unless you take over her overdue BMW payments.
No one does that out of the goodness of their heart. My guess is these people take selfies with the fast food cashier and hold up the receipt to show the world on social media just how much of a good person they are. You probably even hung around the exit waiting to turn for an extra minute or two simply to receive a wave of gratitude from the car behind you. After all, you clearly were in this for the recognition.
If I get up to the drive through window and I’m told that the person in front of me picked up my check, I’m instantly thinking there was some sort of ulterior motive. Questions start swirling through my head: Did I know that person? Do I look poor? Is this a nice gesture from someone before they ask me to help them move this weekend? Seriously, do I look poor? This must be their way of hitting on me – I still got it.
The next thing I’m doing is looking in my own rear view mirror. I guess I’m supposed to return the favor I didn’t ask for to the people behind me? Let’s see what we’ve got here:
“Is that a fucking minivan? Jesus, how many kids are in that car? I think there’s an entire little league team in there. Coach looks like he drives laps around the McDonald’s drive thru like it’s the Indianapolis 500 every day for lunch. I’ll end getting an alert from my bank if I treat this carload. I’ll get someone else next time, maybe. Free lunch does indeed exist today it appears.”
If I had a family of my own (Still single, sup ladies?), I’d take two separate cars with my wife in the other car with our hypothetical kids. I’d cut off another solo driver in line at the drive-thru and order the cheapest item while picking up their check, presuming the car behind me would follow my lead and pick up my family’s check behind them. It’s a genius scheme the more I think about it.
The fact that I’m already thinking like this is more than enough reason to rid ourselves of pay it forward in these types of situations. Keep it professional, donate to worthy charitable causes and treat yo self on occasion.