“If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.” That’s a quotation often attributed to Mother Teresa, who some accuse of selfishness through selflessness. The real author of the quote is Dr. Kent M. Keith, and it’s part of his Paradoxical Commandments.
That misattributed sentiment is being put to the test in this most Canadian of stories. Were these 228 customers in a three-hour-long random acts of kindness chain at a Winnipeg Tim Hortons actually being selfless, or did they just not want to look like jerks when the person in the drive-through line in front of them paid for their tasty beverage? And, really, does it matter?
Here’s the skinny, via the Winnipeg Free Press:
In December, the Tim Hortons chain surprised its customers with Random Cups of Kindness, a week where they’d pick up tabs of guests at random. But a few days before Christmas, Timmie customers in Winnipeg decided to return the favour.
At about 10 a.m. on Dec. 21, a Tim Hortons customer at the Beaverhill Boulevard location decided to pay for the order of the next vehicle in the drive-through line.
That began a chain of random acts of kindness that lasted for three hours — and 228 orders.
“It isn’t uncommon for Tim Hortons customers to pay for the next person in line, but this was a real gift,” said Michelle Robichaud, spokeswoman for the company.
When customers inside the restaurant caught wind of what was going on, they, too, decided to pay it forward.
Was that little goof from Forrest Gump was right about paying it forward?
So who broke this glorious Human Centipede of Canadian Coffee Kindness? And what if the 229th customer just didn’t agree that paying it forward should happen so immediately, but rather have it be an act of true kindness at a later date and time? Like the guy who accidentally drops the beach ball at a Dave Matthews Band concert, sometimes can’t help but feel bad for these people under an undue force of societal pressure.