Just ten minutes ago, my mood went from a mid-winter “blah” to all smiles.

It’s Wednesday… the indelible “hump day.”

And similar to “hump day,” this “hump season” seemed to be especially affecting me this morning, full of grey-ish, seasonal depression disorder kind of weather.

After getting my morning lemon water, eggs, and a spoonful of sauerkraut (for those good bugs, you know!), I headed out for the 15-minute walk to study at  my go-to coffee spot in Kragujevac.

Picking my favorite corner spot (to avoid as much second-hand smoke as possible), I ordered my usual, a small “Cafe Americano,” and got to work reading about lipids in my Nutritional Sciences book (quite exciting).


I just didn’t FEEL like studying, let alone being joyful.

Where are you, motivation? Happiness? Hel-looooooo!!?

So, on a whim, I wrote a prayer to hold myself accountable for my recent focus on CHOOSING my attitude, rather than letting circumstances do so.

After my brief pause, I then proceeded to finish the chapter, and downed my last sip of coffee.

I packed my belongings and got up to pay, and as I handed the barista 120 dinar (about $1.25ish) for my coffee, he stopped me.

Barista: (With a Serbian/English accent) “Don’t worry. It’s already taken care of.”
Me: (Astonished)… “What!?”
Barista: “The man in the corner paid for you. He said you reminded him of himself; studying everywhere in coffee shops, buses, trains…”
Me: “Oh my gosh…Seriously!? That is the nicest thing!”

Completely flattered and touched, I looked to the corner to find and thank this kind man, but he had already left.

I mumbled how thankful I was to the barista, completely surprised at this man’s random act of kindness (to a “foreigner,” too)!

And I left the coffee shop, processing this small, inexpensive, quick gesture that totally had me seeing shades of joy (despite the grey day) as I walked home.

So, THIS is what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.

Call it an answered prayer to my request 15 minutes earlier, or just a random chance happening, but I felt so humbled and happy walking home.

If this had such an impact on me, to know that a random stranger cared enough to buy me coffee, can you imagine how much of an impact it would have on someone actually going through difficult trials and tribulations?

The light bulb clicked for me.

I felt a compulsive urge to pay it forward NOW.

I saw a gypsy at one of the main intersections trying to earn money washing windshields, so I handed him about the same amount of money as my cup of coffee.

“Hvala… (means ‘thank you’ in Serbian),” he said, and muttered some other Serbian words completely oblivious to me.

The crazy thing is, that made me even more joyful.


If there’s one thing I learned today, it’s the power of $1, and that we all have the ability to make tsunami waves of an impact on a random stranger from one tiny gesture.

That’s all it can take to make someone’s day, and probably yours, too.

Will you harness the power of $1 or euro today?

photo credit: Ervins Strauhmanis Euro coin via photopin (license)