Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What's On Your Bucket List?

Did you ever see that movie, The Bucket List? It's got Morgan Freeman in it? And Jack Nicholson? It's one of my all-time favorite movies -- I still remember how incredibly inspired I felt the first time I watched that movie ...

For those who haven't seen it, it's a movie about two men with terminally ill cancer, and as they come from very different backgrounds, they have led very different lives. But they meet in the hospital, and as they get to know each other, dying together sort of forces an unwilling friendship between them. As they each face their own impending death, they have conversations about their lives, the things they did ... and the things they didn't do. And then, they decide to get up and go do those things while they still can.

So I guess you can see why it's called the Bucket List, then.

Do have a bucket list? There are so many people who keep them, and I'm always touched by them, especially the really heartwrenching ones people put together for kids, or the sort-of-funny-even-though-it's-sad ones people do for their dogs. It amazes me to see people checking huge things off their bucket lists, and I can only imagine the satisfaction of totally finishing one. Hell, I've hardly even begun to check things off of mine!

Although I did check off one small thing, one very small thing:

A few weeks ago, just for kicks, I paid for the car behind me for the first time. I didn't need to, I didn't know what the total was, I didn't know if maybe the car behind me at Starbucks was buying one coffee for the driver, or one each for the driver and passenger, or one each for the driver and passenger and people I couldn't see in the backseat ... or if they were two people sent out from some office somewhere to pick up coffee for everyone back at work.

I'm glad it wasn't that last one though.

Still, it felt good to wonder if the person behind me was having a bad day, one of those days where you're just like, "Screw it, I deserve a treat today! I'm getting a coffee/pair of shoes/new couch/whatever!" I wondered if maybe they just got the news that they're getting a raise, or if there were two people in the car because one of them broke down and the other one came to pick them up. Maybe they just came from the doctor's office. Maybe it was good news, maybe it wasn't.

Who knows, maybe it was just two people on their way to a meeting like I was, and they wanted something to drink like I did. Whatever. I didn't need a reason, other than that I could do it and it had been on my bucket list for quite a while. So, I ordered my coffee, I pulled up to the window, I held out my card to pay the barista, and I couldn't hold back a smile as I said, "Swipe this for the car behind me, too."

She looked at me for just a second in surprise, broke into a grin, and said, "No problem." I heard her tell someone else when she turned away to swipe the card, and I grinned a little harder.

And really, maybe it doesn't mean anything, you know? I mean, it's just a coffee. It's not going to change the world. But I can tell you what it might mean to me if I pulled up to that window in the midst of a really horrible day and held out my card to pay for a coffee I felt guilty for splurging on anyway, only to be told that the car in front of me had taken care of it for me, just because.

I know you can imagine as you read this what it might mean for you.

Have you ever had someone pick up your tab somewhere? Or have you ever picked up the tab for someone else? If you have, tell me about it in the comments.

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