Express your gratitude by returning the favor

Karena Ozier, Columnist

I love getting free stuff as much as the next person, but even I know that nothing is really free. 

For instance, I recently went through the Starbucks drive thru with my friend. She ordered a drink, and when she pulled up to the window to pay, the worker told her that the person in the car in front of ours had paid for her. 

Her eyes lit up in excitement. Even the small act of paying for someone else’s drink can make their day.

This moment reminded me of a time when something like this happened to me before I left for college. I was eating at a local restaurant with my boyfriend, my brother and my boyfriend’s brother. 

I told them that I was going to pay for the meal but that they needed to not get anything too expensive.

We finished eating, but the bill never came. I went up to the register and asked what our total was. The lady told me that someone had paid for our meal and that we didn’t have to worry about it.

I was instantly curious as to who had paid for us. I looked around the room and saw a familiar face. I asked the lady if that was the person who had paid for our meal, and she confirmed with a nod. 

It was a pleasant surprise to see that it was a teacher from middle school who was also my old drama director. I was so grateful.

I walked back to the table to share the news. We walked over to where my old teacher was sitting and thanked him together.

Sometimes our actions speak louder than our words. People have the potential be extraordinary. Going out of your way to make someone else’s day is a task that often doesn’t get recognized nor accomplished. 

In these times where the kind gesture is anonymous, such a someone paying for your drink, it may be complicated to show how grateful you are.

The easiest way to express gratitude is to keep gratuity going. If someone pays for your drink, pay for the person behind you.

We are taught to pass kindness on at a young age. We forget to do this as we see more of the world and we start to keep to ourselves more. 

If buying something can make someone’s day, imagine what it feels like to give to others. Imagine what one small action could do for someone. 

You might have just put a smile on their face or made their eyes light up. 

You don’t even have to give something to someone to show kindness. Having manners and showing respect can also go a long way, such as holding the door open for someone who is behind you.

Everything may not be free, but we are. We are free to show kindness. 

Karena Ozier is a freshman elementary education major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].