As We See It

Paying it forward, awkwardness included

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Local businesses are preparing to pay it forward to the United Way. We gave it a shot, too.

Every week, I see posts about random acts of kindness: a coffee paid for at the Starbucks drive-thru, a tank of gas bought by an anonymous do-gooder. From May 7-14, 10 local businesses—including Artifact, Gritz Café, Pizza Rock and Sambalatte—will be paying it forward for United Way of Southern Nevada, donating a portion of proceeds to the organization, which provides education, financial and health assistance to Valley families. As a bit of a social experiment, I set out to start a pay-it-forward wave of good feeling, with mixed results:

Wayfarer Bar The plan is simple: Order a drink and quietly pick up a neighbor’s cocktail, but everyone around me is buying rounds for their friends or already has a tab. I try to wait for the perfect moment, but dammit, I’m thirsty. Cost: $10, on a drink for myself.

Einstein Bros. Bagels I’m ready to pay it forward (with cream cheese!), but when it’s time to order there’s no one behind me in line. I’ve already cashed out when the next person arrives—and orders a dozen. Cost: $2.47.

Starbucks Standing at the caffeine king, I’m suddenly nervous. What if the person behind me doesn’t want a handout? What if he thinks I’m hitting on him? He is Scott, a uniformed Henderson cop who orders an iced chai with a pump of vanilla and keeps saying I don’t have to do this. It’s friendly and totally awkward, but I walk away smiling, thinking maybe he’ll go easy on the next person he pulls over. Cost: $9.08, my drink included.

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