Paying it Forward with Doughnuts

A dreary morning two semesters ago found me standing in line at Starbucks contemplating the great misfortunes in my life. My dark eyes and slumped posture bore witness to the late night hours of studying, which didn’t seem to have paid off for my early-morning test.

I had come to Starbucks looking for some encouragement in a cup of sugar and caffeine, and perhaps a small pastry for breakfast on the side. But as I examined the menu, I sighed. Because those were the prehistoric days of Lipscomb where I could only spend $6 on a meal, I couldn’t get coffee and breakfast; it was one or the other.

As I stood there debating which to get, suddenly I saw before me an angel from heaven in the guise of a random guy with an invitingly open Krispy Kreme box. “Would you like a doughnut?” he asked.

I may or may not have glanced anxiously around to ensure that he was talking to me. When my eyes came back to his, he was still standing there smiling. I gaped at him. “Are you kidding?! Why?”

He responded, “Oh, I just felt like being nice and handing out doughnuts today.”

He was perfectly serious.

My eyes lit up like a small excited child’s as I reverently lifted the doughnut from its pool of icing and thanked him ecstatically.

Then I ordered a raspberry mocha to go with my doughnut, and life did not seem so terrible after all. Because no one in the world could have known how much I needed a doughnut at that moment, the satisfaction from its sugary goodness — and the generosity of a stranger — lasted long after it was gone.

Fast forward a year, to finals week. It was past 11 PM and I couldn’t bring myself to study anymore, so I called up my sister and her husband to see if they wanted to go get some Krispy Kreme. My bro-in-law said heck yes and dragged his poor wife out the door in her pajamas.

When we had eaten our fill and they had headed back home, there were 4 doughnuts left in the box. I thought about saving them for breakfast — but then, I had a better idea. In honor of the mysterious doughnut guy, I decided to pay it forward.

Bracing myself against the chilly December air, I headed across campus to one of the guys’ dorms and gave one to a guy as he was walking in. In the next moment, three other guys came running outside.

“Doughnuts? Somebody said doughnuts!” one of them shouted.

There were three left — one for each of them.

Two took their doughnuts and disappeared, but the last one gave me a suffocating hug and exclaimed, “I don’t even know you, but you’re my best friend!”

I smiled to myself.

Doughnut Guy in Starbucks that day had spent $7.14 to make 12 people happy. When you think about that Krispy Kreme goodwill in a ripple effect — well, that’s a small price to pay for world peace.

I dare you to do it.

Buy a dozen original glazed doughnuts and give them to people who need them. In your office, in your class, at the bus stop. Wherever you see a downtrodden face, give them the gift of Krispy Kreme — and you’ll find, in the process, you give them so much more.

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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