You never know when a simple act of kindness might mean the world to someone else.
Mackenzie Mauller, 19, was at Starbucks recently when she decided to pay for the order of the woman behind her in line. Not thinking much about what she had done, Mackenzie went on her way.
Later that day, though, the teen went to check her mailbox and was surprised to find a handwritten note sitting inside. When she started reading it she couldn’t believe her eyes – the note was from the woman she had bought coffee for!
“Thank you for the coffee. I rarely go to Starbucks and treat myself but the last couple of months have been a bit of a struggle,” the note said.
The woman, whose name is Nicole Clawson, explained that her family was going through a lot of transition. Her father, who had taken care of her children every day, had recently passed away. That morning, her babysitter had called in sick, meaning Nicole had to take the day off of work, and she was soon going to leave her job to become a stay-at-home mom, a role she was not “emotionally and financially” prepared for.
“I cried when I found out you were so sweet to buy my coffee and thrilled to see you pull in a couple houses down from where I live,” Nicole wrote. “I felt it necessary for you to know that what you did for me was more than just a coffee. It was something that has turned my whole day around, put tears in my eyes and a smile on my face and I feel so grateful.”
Nicole said she had felt guilty while sitting in line at Starbucks because she is no longer providing any income to the family. When she got to the drive-through window and the barista said her order was paid for, Nicole was “shocked.”
On the way home, Nicole noticed that she was trailing the car that had been in front of her in line. When she saw Mackenzie pull into the driveway of a nearby house, she knew she had to do something to thank her.
“I thought to myself, ’How often do people pay it forward and learn the impact of their actions?’” Nicole said.
So she and her children, ages 3 and 6, wrote the sweet note and slipped it into Mackenzie’s mailbox.
Mackenzie, who is studying flight technology at Kent State University, was incredibly touched by the note. She says she can relate to Nicole’s desire to thank her.
“Strangers have bought me coffee in the past, and I always wished I could have thanked them,” she said.
That evening, Mackenzie went door-to-door in her neighborhood, searching for Nicole. When the two women finally met, it was a sweet and poignant reunion.
After Mackenzie posted Nicole’s letter on Twitter, it quickly went viral. Strangers have even sent her money – $150 – which Mackenzie used to buy a Starbucks gift card for Nicole. She also offered the struggling mother her babysitting services.
Nicole has been blown away by Mackenzie’s kindness and the impact one simple act can have. She said she is grateful for Mackenzie and the example she has been to her children.
“Now my kids want to pay it forward,” Nicole said. “Mackenzie makes me proud as a mom.”
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