I almost paid for someone else’s dental visit the other day. On a day when I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for my own.
I’d gotten a small filling the month before, but now had the sensation of biting down on aluminum foil, or a metal fork clanging against a nerve. I couldn’t go much longer with my tooth’s nerve rebelling against things like forks, water, and air.
Our community had recently lost a young person to a tragic accident. In her honor, many members of the community decided the best way to honor her was to perform outrageous acts of kindness in her name. Social media buzzed with reports of those who paid for the person behind them in the drive-thru, or delivered flowers to strangers, stepped in to pay for the customer ahead in line at the local Christian bookstore, or left a tip larger than the cost of their meal at a restaurant.
That’s the mood that hovered when I walked into the dental clinic and saw a former worship pastor/friend and his little boy heading to the cashier’s desk. Jokingly, I said, “Oh, don’t worry about that. I’ll get it on my way out,” smiled, and hurried down the hall to my appointment, assuming my friend knew I was kidding.
My dentist evened out a rough spot on the previous filling and sent me on my way. I stopped at the cashier’s desk to pay my bill, but the cashier said, “No charge.”
“The dentist didn’t charge you for the appointment, since he made an adjustment from your previous work. Oh, and by the way,” she said, “that young man you were talking to paid his own bill.”
“The—? He—? Oh. Good.”
My phone buzzed with a text message. From the former worship pastor. “Thanks so much for volunteering to pay our bill. At first I thought you were kidding. How about you and your husband and my wife and I meet for dinner sometime, instead? Dutch treat?”
Lessons learned. Don’t kid around about kindness.
I told the clerk I was going to return someday and actually do that, pull out my checkbook and pay someone else’s bill…just to demonstrate God’s outrageous kind of love.
Any day now.
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in Hope. Her award-winning novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction help point readers and speaking audiences to the One who mends, so they too can say, “I can’t unravel. I’m hemmed in Hope.” You can discover more about her books and speaking topics at www.cynthiaruchti.com.