The Front Street story

Sunday morning. I’m driving home from a friend’s house when I decide to stop and get Starbucks. Lately, I’ve been trying to save money and limit my coffee runs. However, it’s the weekend, so why not have some fun?


As I approach the drive-through, only a few cars are ahead of me. After a few short minutes it’s my turn to order. I go with my go-to, a venti iced americano, and wait for the other customers to pull forward. I drive up to the window and greet the barista. As I go to hand her a five dollar bill, she stops me and says that the person ahead of me had paid for my drink.


This “pay it forward” chain has only happened to me once before at Starbucks and I’m just as surprised now as I was then. Who started this chain? How many people prior to me had paid for the previous car’s drink? How long would this chain continue?


I express my surprise to the barista, asking her what the price of the order of the car behind me is. She replied “$2.95” and I decide to pay it forward. A venti iced americano costs $3.45, so I figure it’s better to do a nice thing and save $0.50 than to take the drink and run. In my previous experience with the Starbucks drive-through chain, I’d also paid for the car behind mine, as it would obviously be rude not to do so.


As I drive away, I feel glad that I have been able to hopefully bring some joy into someone’s day. It’s not often where you can brighten a stranger’s day, but this is a perfect way that I could do so while also staying under the radar.


I drive home and head down Front Street. I pass through Silver Lake, a community that’s notorious for pulling drivers over for going just a few miles over the speed limit. It’s a 35 mph zone and I’m cruising at about 42 mph. I feel good, with the windows cracked slightly so I can feel the breeze.


I know that I should probably slow down to 35, but the roads are fairly empty and I don’t expect any police officers to be out on patrol. I keep my speed. It’s fun to drive a ​little​ faster every once in a while and it’s a pleasant Sunday morning.


Not two minutes later, I see flashing lights ahead of me on the side of the road. As I pass, I see that a police officer has pulled someone over. Uh oh.


Immediately, a thought enters my head. By paying it forward for someone else at Starbucks, and giving away $2.95, maybe I had saved myself from a run-in with the police. If I had decided not to pay for the person behind me in line, maybe I would have been the one on the side of the road. By coughing up that $2.95, I had actually saved myself from a possible $100 ticket.


Maybe this is just my brain coming up with a scenario of what ​could ​have happened. But I really do think that sometimes, there’s a little bit of karma involved in our lives. And on this day, I was blessed with a little good karma. So next time you’re in a drive-thru and pull up to the window, be prepared to pay it forward, because you might never know what’s going to happen next in life.