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Kindness goes a long way 
by Cortney Maddock
May 17, 2010 | 1001 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To the person driving the newer, dark gunmetal gray Honda Accord at about 9:40 a.m. on Friday in the Starbucks drive-thru on the corner of Pyramid Way and C Street in Sparks, I have two words for you: Thank you!

Thank you because your simple act of kindness completely changed my day extremely for the better. Thank you because you reminded me that people still do nice things and thank you because I really needed that coffee.

Last week was brutal. Our colleague Sarah decided to run away on her honeymoon on what seemed, naturally, like the busiest week we’ve had at the paper in, well, a while. By the time Friday rolled around, I was exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open.

I don’t do mornings well. Mornings are really a down side of the business.

Making a detour for coffee on my way to work, I acknowledged that I probably wouldn’t get lunch on Friday because of the way the day looked: six interviews before noon, story assignment at 1:30 p.m., write story at about 3 p.m. and finish the paper’s layout. 

I ordered butter cookies in addition to a much-needed large specialty drink. Yes, one of those overly sweet, diabetic coma-inducing ones. And, yes, the cookies were indeed my lunch.

As I waited in the coffee chain’s drive-thru, I checked my e-mail from my phone, answered questions a few public relations professionals had about upcoming story ideas, hoped my early morning interview didn’t decide to call me back now and scrambled to find the exact change to fuel my coffee addiction.

Granted, I have a photographic memory. I know what your car looks like, but I will admit, I was barely paying attention until I got to the drive-thru window. 

“Today is your lucky day,” the barista said. “The woman in front of you paid for your drink.”

Shocked, I looked at him confusedly. Why would someone I don’t know do that? The answer: Because that someone is inherently kind.

Still taken off guard, the barista handed me my coffee and butter cookies, which the woman kindly paid for as well, and as I drove the remaining few blocks to the Sparks Tribune newsroom, I actually felt embarrassed because I had ordered a large coffee instead of my normal smaller one.

I hoped I didn’t inconvenience the woman who did the good deed. I hoped she knew how thankful I was as I slurped that cavity-creating coffee.

I also hope she knows that I will continually pay the good deed forward.

At 1:30 p.m. the story assignment I had only further reinforced the idea that kindness can prevail in a community where it is nurtured.

A branch of Think Kindness ( called Kindness Crew held a party for a young boy named Seth whose life had been changed forever when he was diagnosed with cancer last June.

The happiness that filled the courtyard at Bud Beasley Elementary School nearly brought me to tears – highly caffeinated tears, at that. 

It seemed that in one day, the universe has renewed my faith in the kindness of others and I think it is an important lesson to pass on, even if it all started with a (subjectively) early morning coffee. 

To the woman at the Starbucks drive-thru, thank you for taking the extra time to make a stranger’s day that much better.

To the members of the Kindness Crew, thank you for your good deeds that will hopefully help enrich this community and spark more ideas for individuals to do their own good deeds. 

To the person who might receive the benefit of my kindness, I only ask one thing: Please pay it forward.

Cortney Maddock is reporter for the Sparks Tribune. She can be reached at
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