Pay It Forward and Damn the Torpedoes

Pay it forward
May 25, 2023

Because of the polarization of the world, and the constant pressure on everyone, I’m noticing that someone always feels the need to flame a kind gesture if it isn’t what they would do.

Have you observed that no matter how kind, how compassionate, how much someone (or some group of someones) tries to do something good, that there are thousands of people out there willing to use flaming posts to question sanity, motives, prejudices and callousness around the gesture?

The one that prompted this “Corbie Gets Candid” was the Barista Barrage: a post went viral where a Starbucks barista was angry and dismissive of those who “paid it forward” at their store.

They bitterly reminded us that we were “the rich who don’t get it” because we can AFFORD to get a cup of coffee (or a decaf hazelnut soy latte with 2 sugar-free caramel pumps, thank you) and patronize the store that pays THEM.

hand and money jar

Kindness, according to the Barista Barrage, ONLY belongs in a Starbucks tip jar.


Indeed, we should be ashamed that we make their job SO MUCH HARDER by doing that and because of that, we should FORGET about being nice to another customer and TIP the indignant barista EXTRA because THEY deserve it.


Toddler crying

“It’s not fair!” That’s a mantra for a toddler, not an adult.


Just another Professional Victim moment.

Now, in their defense (see? I’m kind), there are ways and ways of paying it forward.

Paying it forward also means don’t screw up the line behind you at the drive-through.

Using a Starbucks card that’s well-filled is easy; just give it to the barista, tell them how many you want to pay it forward for, and wait quietly nearby so the barista doesn’t have to find you again, instead of fumbling with cash.

But I digress. And the point of the story is this:


Be kind

Even unkind people need kindness. They’re screaming for it.


People around us feel needy.

People around us can hunger for kindness so desperately that they get angry seeing someone else receive it when they didn’t.

The world is so fraught today with fear, with lack, with isolation, with the feeling that the world is going to end at any moment, that normal emotion is hard to come by.

So here’s my advice:


Don’t worry about whether your gesture will be misread.

Don’t worry about whether someone else approves or disapproves of it.

Don’t worry about whether it’s insulting some other group.

Don’t look for any kind of approval OR disapproval.

Be the change the world so desperately needs today…

Give a sandwich.

Give a blanket.

Give money.


Kind man in office

Give someone the opportunity to just…talk.


Give a listening session.

Give a blessing bag.

Give time.

Give a pair of socks.

Give a kind touch.

Give a cup of coffee.

Give effort.

If, when you give, you can take away any need to be right, to be rewarded, to be justified IN ANY WAY, then you can give completely and totally, with no strings attached, and with every blessing you can offer.

Give with your head, your hands, your heart. Give what you can, without seeking reward, and know that Spirit knows it to be enough.



Keep lighting your candle.


I often speak about lighting candles in the dark.

If someone tries to blow out yours, relight it. Over and over again.

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