Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fight this Holy Armageddon

After a particularly long day at work last week, I decided to reward myself with one of the world's most underrated treats- a McDonald's dollar sundae.

I let my mind wander as the Lexus in front of me ordered 4 minutes worth of food. I took comfort in the fact that someone with a car worth 12x the amount of mine was also resorting to the Golden Arches.

As I pulled to the first window, a flustered employee leaned out and said, "I don't know why, but the woman in front of you just paid for yours. You can pull forward."

Equally confused, I thanked him and slowly drove up to accept my free fa(s)t food.

In 30 seconds, my faith in humanity had been resurrected. An hour's worth of self-pity dissolved. The world seemed warm, and kind. All because one person paid for my one dollar and seven cent guilty pleasure.

Like the employee, I don't know why the woman paid my bill. Yet, the "who" and "why" aren't important to the story. What I took from this experience was the impact made by such a small gesture. As absurd as it may sound, this was absolutely the highlight of my week.

It was a highlight because it was an unexpected moment of solidarity with a stranger; these interactions are becoming uncommon even with close friends in our text-happy generation. Despite having more and more modes of communication, we are connecting less with others around us. We find out our friend's moods via Facebook statuses and Twitter updates. We send e-mails from one cube away, and perhaps pray for a voicemail when placing an obligatory call to an old friend.

Due to this seismic shift in societal interaction, little moments of humanity count more than ever. By remembering that we are all part of a shared experience, we allow ourselves the possibility of impacting the world in a positive way. Our impact may be as small as paying forward a random act of kindness, and that's okay. In our haste to believe that we have "NO LIMITS", we sometimes fail to accept that there are also no minimums. Perhaps you won't change the world by zipping up someone's open backpack on the street, but you certainly won't damage it either.

The second, equally important lesson I learned that day is that not all who drive Lexus SUVs are assholes.


Emily Elizabeth said...

There's nothing better than a free one-dolla McD's sundae... except maybe a free extra large Thin Mint Blizzard from DQ. I'm just sayin...

And yes, social media stalking is not only fun and entertaining, but totally necessary, as it is important for me to find out how other 20-somethings are living the dream (aka still pretending to be in college...)

Can't wait to see you at the reunion!

Gaƫlle said...

Hello, Could you please help me? What is the meaning of Holy Armageddon? I'm French Native speaking and wondering about...
Thank you. Gail