Life is funny sometimes. If my life were a comic strip I would be The Born Loser, I swear. Nothing goes as planned for me. As is the case in my “pay it forward” good intention today.

Apparently it's a whole dollar to rent a cart these days, not the 25 cents I remember.

First off, this actually started last week when I went to the grocery store and after getting out of my car, an older gentleman offers me his cart. Now ordinarily I’d assume that he just wanted me to take his cart back to the store for him so he wouldn’t have to do it himself. But at this particular store, where you have to pay to use a cart, his gesture was more like a gift. Never having used a cart at this store, and being stuck in the 80s like I am, I offered him the quarter for the cart. He smiled and gestured that I could keep it. Imagine my embarrassment upon realizing he must’ve thought I was mentally challenged in offering a quarter when in fact it took a dollar to use the cart. Oops.

After shopping I returned the cart to the store, retrieved the shiny dollar coin and considered passing it onto the next customer. One problem: there was no one in sight and there was no way I was going to stand around like some fool waiting to offer someone a dollar for their cart rental. I decided I’d hold off and “pay it forward” another time. Afterall, there’s no immediate “time” rule on paying it forward, is there?

That brings me to today. I head over to the local Tim Horton’s to get myself a donut. I’m not particularly fond of their donuts on any given occasion, but for some reason today I had the hankering for one. There are two entrances to this particular Tim’s. One from the main street, and one from an adjacent street at the back. Seeing as I was closer to the back one, that’s the route I took.

Neighborhood Tim's location.. quite possibly now on my shit list.

The drive thru is lined up and while I patiently wait my turn, not one person was letting me into the line. One, two, then three, four, five cars inch by not letting me in. Finally a lady waves me in. Seeing that she was super nice, I knew this was my chance to pay it forward. After all, I’d done this particular thing once before about 3 years ago when a man had let me into the line in much the same way at another location.

I roll up to the window and tell the cashier that I’d like to pay for the lady behind me. She checks her order and says, “She ordered two coffees.” I said, “That’s fine, she was nice enough to let me in the line when not one other person would.” The cashier smiled, told me it was $4 or so for the lady’s items and I paid her. I pull away and have to wait to turn onto the busy street so I watch in my rearview mirror as the unsuspecting lady approaches the window. She hands the cashier a $5 bill, gets her change and her coffee and drives off. No moment of happiness in finding out her coffees were already paid for, nothing!

Yup. That sums it up.

I can only assume that the cashier didn’t tell the lady about my good gesture at all and let her pay for the items that I also paid for in my gesture of goodwill, likely pocketing either my money or the other lady’s.

Talk about backfire.  Obviously this whole “pay it forward” concept is highly overrated. Or at least it is at Tim’s. I’ll pay it forward again, just not there…