Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Pay-It-Forward $20 Tip For An Airport Shuttle Driver


--by keymaker, posted Dec 30, 2009

After an inspired weekend with some kindred spirits, I stepped into the airport shuttle. 

The shuttle driver offered me two seat options: the shot-gun seat or the seat way in the back of the van.  I said, "You know what, I'm going to take the back seat.   Perhaps the next passenger can enjoy the front seat."  Instantly, he did a double take and smiled.  As I got in, he made a public announcement to the four others already in the van: "This man took the back seat just so someone else could have the front.  What a nice guy!"  Then, he looked at me and said, "Welcome aboard, Sir." 

It turns out that John, our driver, has been a long-time native to Santa Fe.  His ancestors, dating back to 1800s, were all based in the Native American communities locally.  "Yeah, I could tell you anything about Santa Fe," he joked as we drove through the rural landscapes and talked about Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant shooting a film there, the Frito Pies that the locals eat, and the New Mexico seat-belt laws. :)  A happy spirit, John served all of us with deep joy and a full heart.

As I got out, I opened my wallet for John's tip.  I saw that I had a twenty dollar bill, so I turned to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Hey buddy, can I ask you a favor?  I've got a twenty here.  Can I give this to you, and ask you to pay it forward, do something nice for someone else?  I just came from an inspired gathering, and I want to dedicate this to them."

As I stuffed the $20 in his fist, he looked at me and said, "Thank you, Sir.  Thank you so much."  And he repeated that three times almost.  Despite being the "nice guy" who took the back seat, he was visibly surprised at my little act and smiled radiantly as we parted.  I couldn't help but smile myself.

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Readers Comments

Roy Christian wrote: As a aiport shuttle driver i'd like to thank you for you story! I'm glad you understand!
Unix83 wrote: Thanks for sharing! **happy tears! **
iferlamb wrote: Wonderful story! Thank you for sharing!

Smiles and happy new year!
Namaste wrote: Great story - thank you for sharing it!
Aurelia wrote: WOW! Times are hard for so many. You gave him something to smile about and now the ripples of kindness will continue! Thank you for showing him he is appreciated.
~Aurelia

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