Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

We waft about our lives absorbed in our fascinating selves and assuming so much about others.

We don't really have much time for others, do we? 

There's so much to do and so much to post to Facebook.

Yet here's the story of an Ohio student called Mackenzie Mauller. This week, she described a simple day when she pulled up at a Starbucks drive-thru.

Yesterday I bought coffee for the lady behind me at Starbucks.. later in the day I found this is my mailbox. Small acts can make a big difference folks, spread some kindness.

Paying it forward can mean paying it backward, you see.

The letter she received told a story she could have never expected. 

It began: 

Thank you for the coffee! I rarely go to Starbucks and treat myself, but the last couple of months have been a bit of a struggle. My father just passed away and he was also my babysitter. My family and my children have had a really hard time. This morning my babysitter called off sick and I had to take the day off work. I decided to buy my kids breakfast and get myself coffee with total guilt because I am going to become a stay-at-home mom for awhile. 

The words total guilt were underlined. 

The mom continued: 

Since I was not planning on going this route in my life, I was not emotionally and financially prepared to quit working. I cried when I found out you were so sweet to buy my coffee and thrilled to see you in a couple houses down from where I live. I felt it necessary to know that what you did for me was more than just a coffee. It was something that turned my whole day around, put tears in my eyes and a smile on my face and I feel so grateful.

More than just a coffee.

Because we have a lot of assumptive talent, we have no idea what others may be going through.

Faces reveal and mask in equal measure.

Sometimes, a gesture this simple can have a strong and lasting effect, and the mom felt it necessary that Mauller know the effect her gesture had had. 

I asked Mauller, who's studying flight technology at Kent State University, what made her do what she did. 

"There wasn't much thought behind it," she told me. "I just felt like doing something nice."

She also told me she's offered to help Mauller.

"She has a babysitter, but if she needs someone I told her I could," she said.

Mauller's tweet went, as they say in today's world, viral. Principally, I suspect, because simple, generous humanity is in rather short supply in our currently fractious world.

Mauller told the mom -- Nicole Clawson -- about the story now having been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people.

So Clawson joined in the Twitterfest and revealed that Mauller's kindness had moved her children too:

This has been such a great learning opportunity for them, on how to treat others, no matter what. They are excited to pay it forward, and treat others with kindness and selflessness.

Oh, I know the business world isn't built on the twin rocks of kindness and selflessness.

But perhaps if these elements were a little more prominent, more people would enjoy their jobs and even be more productive.

It's a thought, isn't it?

Published on: Aug 10, 2018