Thanks for the coffee, ma’am. I didn’t have the presence of mind to pay it forward at the time but I have since. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Thanks for the coffee, ma’am. I didn’t have the presence of mind to pay it forward at the time but I have since. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

The bright side: I didn’t mean to be a terrible person

Paying forward that free coffee

It took a little over a year into life with two kids for me to succumb to coffee. For years I have preferred hot tea by the gallon. Not literally. That would be awkward to drink. Just by the cup. Many cups. Well, the same cup, I’m not a fan of doing dishes, but you know what I mean.

My point is I just never really developed a taste for coffee, but kids change things. Well, exhaustion changes things and this working mamma needed a serious pick-me-up.

And let me tell you, when I finally gave it a shot, it quickly became something I look forward to every morning. I understand now why people are obsessed. I have to ration it so as not to overdo it on the caffeine.

I’m still new to the coffee culture and don’t really know the difference between bad coffee and good coffee, but I have found some things I do enjoy.

The other day I finished my lunch-hour workout (yes, I’m one of those people) and swung by Tim Hortons for an iced coffee on my way back to the office. I don’t even know why I like them so much but I do. I enjoy sitting at my desk and sipping on them while I write. Who am I kidding? It’s probably the sugar I like best.

Anyway, back to the drive thru.

I was physically driving through but my mind was clearly somewhere else; call it a post-workout fog or just my state of mind these days, but when it was my turn at the window I hadn’t yet got my wallet out. As I fumbled to do it in a hurry the cashier said “Don’t worry about it, the lady in front of you paid for your drink and asked that you pay it forward.”

I guess my head was still somewhere else, but I said “thank you”, got my drink, and drove away.

Not 10 feet from the store did I realize what I should have done was pay for the vehicle behind me.

I am a terrible person. I’ll admit, I dropped the ball. That woman made me smile — even more so than the joy of my iced coffee itself. She probably made the drive-thru employees smile too.

I probably ruined it all.

Who knows, the chain could have been dozens of people long and I was the one who broke it.

Oops. I’m really sorry about that.

But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pay it forward in some other way because believe it or not, I’m not actually a terrible person.

So, to the lady in the light blue Tucson, thank you. While I was too dazed to actually continue the chain, I promise you I will indeed pay it forward. In fact I had an opportunity the very next day.

My daughter and I were shopping and noticed a saint of a man who was purchasing an extraordinary amount of school supplies. He was filling dozens of backpacks to hand out to children who wouldn’t otherwise get their supplies. What a great guy, hey? Anyway, we seized the opportunity to make up for my previous gaffe and slipped him a gift card to help with the cost.

This reporter is happy to report good people still do exist. Even if I’m a little slow to notice sometimes.

More coffee should help, no?