Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

Friday, August 22, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her iced coffee and the macchiato for the unknowing soul in the next car in line.

When car No. 2 pulled up, the clerk handed out the drink and said, “The car ahead of you played ‘pay it forward.’ You don’t owe anything.” The driver paused and asked, “What did the person behind me order? I want to play, too,” and – with a delightful giggle, then played ‘pay it forward’ on the third car.

Soon the shop’s barista, Vu Nguyen, a popular 29-year-old store manager, manned the window, simply explaining to each new patron that there was a ‘pay it forward’ line going. He told each customer they were not expected to take part but that because of the car ahead, they owed nothing for their order. On and on it went until at 6 p.m., when an unknown lady demurred, saying she only wanted her order. It was free – of course -- and she was the 379th person to come through the drive-in on a very happy Wednesday before breaking the chain.

At 7 a.m. yesterday morning, there was a longer line than usual at the Starbucks on Tyrone Avenue. The driver of the very first car contained an eager soul who – before the clerk could even hand him his coffee--  blurted, “I want to ‘pay it forward!’” And a new day dawned on the now viral coffee shop. One car after another, all in the spirit of whimsical folly, until an unfortunate  guy named Peter Schorsch purposely snapped the string by alleging the ‘pay it forward’ was “a guilt trip,” in his opinion.

Peter, it seems, has a blog and according to the Tampa Bay Times, he published his version of why he squelched the ‘pay it forward’ game soon after he did so yesterday:

* * *

“What is not an act of kindness is what was happening today at the same Starbucks, where customers were being told that they had had their drink paid for and then asked would they like to pay for the drink of the person next in line,” he immediately wrote.

“That's not generosity, that's guilt. When a new 'Pay It Forward' chain started today, I had to put an end to it.

“So, yes, I drove to the Starbucks, purchased two Venti Mocha Frappuccinos and, even though someone in front of me had paid for one of my drinks, I declined the barista's suggestion to pay for the drink of the person behind me.”

* * *

While Peter is certainly entitled to his own opinion, I take a far different view of what happened at the coffee shop on Tyrone Boulevard. At a time when racial strife is grabbing our headlines, when a foreign enemy is beheading an innocent American and I watch his tearful mother on TV, and when we are numb from being beaten down by oppressors from every direction, I’ll guarantee you I am going to ‘pay it forward’ whenever I can.

Let’s listen to other voices besides Schorsch, who claims he gave a $100 tip “just to prove that I am not a 100-percent Grinch.” Oh, please. Lexie Kane, a 17-year-old student, said, “It makes your day better, I think,” and Tim Burnside came through the line twice on Wednesday. His reasoning:  “I think it is just nice to do a random act of kindness for someone you don’t know.”

Guilt? Schorsch didn’t explain how psychologically impairing he felt it would be to use the money you had intended for your drink to instead pay for a drink in the car behind you – after the car ahead had paid for you -- but he had his day in the sun, with the readers of the largest newspaper in Florida hardly recognizing him as a hero after he “had to put an end to it.”

It is hardly a stretch to believe it is people like Peter Schorsch who cause their direct counterparts to take such joy in ‘paying it forward.’ When Wednesday’s chain was snapped, allegedly by a woman who was unable to comprehend how the game worked, there were 378 who had taken part. When Peter stepped in during his crusade against “guilt,” another 260 had already been served on Thursday.

Those aren’t good numbers (638-to-two) for the Grinches of the world so let’s help Peter to better understand. Please ‘pay it forward’ every time you have the chance.

royexum@aol.com



Help The Signal Mountain Robertson Police And Fire Christmas Fund

Over the last year and a half, there have been terrorist attacks on two Chattanooga military facilities, multiple shootings, a horrific bus accident, and out of control wildfires. During these moments, police, fire, and emergency personnel, typically the first responders, courageously run towards these tragedies to save, protect, and defend the people impacted. In the last year, ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Relationship Between McCallie And Ridgedale Community

I would like to thank all the leadership at McCallie for allowing us to use the ROC for holding the Ridgedale annual Christmas party. It is very ironic that the initial meeting Patricia Rogers held to see about forming a community association in Ridgedale was held 23 years ago in December.  Miss Rogers' vision to end the decay and blight surrounding her and her mother was ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Looking Into Taking Over Schools

A new group of Signal Mountain Town Council members is looking into taking over county schools within the town boundaries.   Two newly elected board members, Amy Speek and Dan Landrum, joined the council Friday afternoon at the first work session after the election. The election of mayor and vice mayor for the next two years came first on the agenda. Dick Gee, mayor ... (click for more)

East Ridge Meth Dealer Gets 168 Months In Federal Prison

A man that agents said was dealing large quantities of meth from his East Ridge residence has been sentenced to serve 168 months in federal prison. Kenneth Lemons appeared before Judge Curtis Collier. Agents said they made several controlled drugs buys from Lemons at his residence in 2015. On Oct. 27, 2015, he drove up to a residence where DEA agents were making a controlled ... (click for more)

Bradley Totally Dominates Ooltewah Invitational

We’re just now through the second week of the high school wrestling season, but the Bradley Bears appear to already be in mid-season form. The Bears, defending state champs for the duals and the traditional tournament, won the Heritage Duals last weekend and they added the Ooltewah Invitational this week as they claimed 10 champions and won going away with 268.5 points. The ... (click for more)

Irish Stick Around, Rally Late To Beat Hixson 64-61

Notre Dame’s basketball team proved Saturday that it’s better to lead late than early. The Irish trailed Hixson for almost 30 minutes – and by as many as 12 points – before taking a 59-57 lead on Akil Sledge’s two free throws with 2:02 left and went on to knock off the Wildcats 64-61 in the eighth Hoops For Hope charity basketball event at Girls Preparatory School. Notre ... (click for more)