Blessing a stranger

Blessing a stranger

May 21
Blessing a stranger

Today over lunch I did something I’ve never done before:  I paid for the person behind me at the drive through.

I was in the drive through at Dairy Queen getting a couple of cheeseburgers for lunch (I LOVE Dairy Queen cheeseburgers!!) .  A feeling came over me very suddenly.  Out of nowhere I had a powerful urge to pay for the person behind me in line.  I’ve never done anything quite like this before.  Despite it being so new to me, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I had to do this.

I looked in my rear view mirror.  Behind me was a minivan.  I think it was green.  The woman driver was wearing sunglasses similar to mine.  He hair (blonde, if I recall correctly) was pulled back in a pony tail.  I had my window down and thought I heard a child make a loud noise, but I couldn’t be sure if it came from her vehicle.  There was nothing out of the ordinary in the appearance of her or the vehicle.  I could read nothing in her face to say that she was having a rough day or needed encouragement.

Regardless, I’m trying to learn to listen and obey when that Voice speaks.  I want to serve my King to the best of my ability and to trust that He understands even when I don’t.  He has a plan, a big beautiful plan, and I sometimes get to be part of it in the lives of others.  I’m learning to cherish those moments and to accept them at face value, regardless of the outcome or if I even get to know the outcome.

God is teaching me that sometimes doing good can be enough in itself.  He is teaching me that I don’t need to know the outcome, that I don’t need to see the result.  I’m learning to trust Him with the things I cannot see and cannot know.  To trust that He takes each act of kindness and magnifies it into something incredible.

When I pulled up to the window, a young woman I had never seen before was at the register.  I go to this Dairy Queen a lot, typically at the same time of day, so I was surprised to see someone I hadn’t seen before.  She gave me a total and I handed her my debit card.  Then I asked her, “How much is the one behind me.”

She didn’t ask why I asked.  She just looked and told me.  It was a little over six bucks.  I said, “Just put that on there, too.”

Again, I was surprised when she didn’t argue or really even blink in dismay.  She smiled really big and swiped my card.  Then she asked, “Do you know them?”

I shook my head and said,  “No.”  I didn’t recognize the lady or the vehicle.

She asked, “Is it because you heard that thing on the radio?”

I had no idea what she was talking about, so I said, “No, I didn’t hear anything on the radio.  I just thought it would be fun.”

She smiled again and told me that she heard something on the radio about someone paying for the person behind them.  Then that person paid for the person behind them, who paid for the next person, and so on.  She said that it went on for an hour.  From the way she smiled as she told me about it, I got the impression she hoped she was about to witness something similar.

This Dairy Queen is on the edge of town, so I said, “I doubt it’s going to go on for an hour today, but at least there will be one.”  I did notice that there was another vehicle behind the minivan, though, and part of me hoped with her.

The girl handed me two receipts and my cheeseburgers.  I made a point of rapidly driving away and not looking in my mirror.  This was God’s moment, not mine.  I didn’t want to steal any glory or receive any thanks for what He had laid on my heart.  This was not for me.  This was for the woman in the van, and maybe the girl at the window who got to be an angel to this stranger.  Maybe there are others who will be blessed through this one small act — my King knows.  I just show up for work.

As I drove away, I said a prayer for the woman in the van.  I asked that God bless her through this act.  I asked that He give her a good day, that He cheer her if she was upset or down.  I asked that He work in her life and just let this be the beginning of something beautiful in her day.

My only regret was that I didn’t pass on a message.  I’m not sure if the girl at the window would have done it or not, but that doesn’t really matter.  I wish I had said, “Tell her that God loves her.”

I’ll be sure to pass the message along next time.


  1. Noel

    This is so great, thank you for sharing — and more so thank you for LISTENING and DOING!

    I love this story because of what it’s “missing”… i.e. the “nice tidy ending” that people so long for. Being the younger brother of a magician I learned long ago that sometimes it’s better not to know. That’s often where the “magic” is revealed.

    God certainly used you today. In at least two people’s lives, and now through this in more lives that we will probably ever know.

    One final thought… it obviously wasn’t your job (today) to pass on a message. I pray that who ever had that job was listening too.

  2. Marc

    That’s so cool. My dad and I once did something similar at Steak n Shake. As we were leaving we decided to pay for a woman who was there alone in a military uniform. We just payed her bill and left before she even learned her meal was paid for. So I can relate to the good feeling for that.

  3. Janelle Hatzenbuehler

    So very awesome Chris, and I especially like that you drove off quickly as to not steal away from God’s moment. I am blessed in my job to have several coworkers who are Christians and my manager and I were just talking about 1) Listening to that Voice & 2) Not taking credit for when God speaks to or moves us to do something. Reading this has further blessed my day and those trains of thought. . . so thank you!

  4. Jason

    That’s great! Isn’t it awesome when God lets us have good seats for something he is doing? And even audience participation! :)

  5. Dave Leaumont

    Very cool. :) The deed could have been as much for the girl in the drive thru, as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *