One Simple Gesture Made Me Swell With Gratitude

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

—Sir Winston Churchill 


A few months ago, I traveled from Salt Lake City to Atlanta for a business trip. I had forgotten to manage my calendar, so with the time change, I had meetings go well into the evening with appointments from back home. It made for some later nights and dinners.  

One night, the only place I could get in was an Italian place, and they sat me at the bar by myself. The food was great, there was a baseball game on that I was enjoying, and no one else was around. About 20 minutes after I’d arrived, a couple came in. We started chatting and enjoying the game and each other’s company. We ended up visiting for more than an hour, while we watched the end of the game and they slipped out a few minutes before I finished up and pushed my credit card across the bar.  

Somehow, in between looking up at the game and back at this couple, one of them had managed to already pay for my meal. The waitress pushed my card back across the table and told me that it was already taken care of by the couple. I had read news articles about this kind of thing, or hear stories about others doing this, but something like this had never happened to me. It was a simple gesture that made my next few days swell with feelings of gratitude for everyone around me. To me that’s the multiplying effect of kindness. When someone gifts a little kindness, we most often feel the desire to perpetuate that kindness creating a domino effect.  

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Truly this unknown stranger that sent a little kindness my way in Georgia by way of a purchased meal was making his life into something great through small acts of service. I will do the same. 

Matt H.