Come Hungry, Leave Happy

I can’t go into IHOP without getting the urge to Pay It Forward!
   It's been awhile since Joshua and I first looked around IHOP to intentionally pick out someone for whom we could buy breakfast. We chose the lady behind us who was dining alone. We asked our waitress for her check when she brought ours and she happily obliged, so we paid for ours and hers and left the restaurant satisfied in more ways than one.
   It's not like this inspirational idea started with me. I actually got it from author Carol McCloud, who told me told me with love in her eyes how her grandfather used to take her and her sister into a restaurant and how they'd agree on someone to buy breakfast for and then covertly pay their bill. She remembered so fondly how they'd sneak out of the restaurant before the lucky recipients of their generosity realized that their meal had been taken care of, after which her grandfather would split the bill three ways. When they both paid their share back to him, he'd take them out to do it again. With elevating experiences like that, there's no question how the author of the award-winning Growing Up With A Bucket Full of Happiness became an expert Bucket Filler herself.
   Right after New Year's Day this year, I took Joshua to breakfast at IHOP again after being on the receiving end of the Pay It Forward ideal thanks to the owner of our car service place, who gifted us with a free oil change.  After we ordered our meal, we scoped it out. We selected the man who was sitting by himself in our section, but it got a little tricky when he got up and went to sit at another booth with someone he'd recognized across the way. Still in eyeshot, they ordered breakfast, but not from our waitress, so Joshua and I had to make another plan. We'd buy a gift card and take it to them at their table. IHOP was running a special - Buy a gift card, get a $5.00 coupon for your next visit - so that's what we did. What joy it gave us to take that gift card to the two friends and simply say, "Happy New Year."
   It was on our way out of the restaurant that I fully realized the lasting impact that the Pay It Forward movement can have when Joshua said, "Wow, mom, not bad. Twenty five dollars for a five-dollar coupon and a good feeling in your heart." I wonder if that's what IHOP means when they say, "Come Hungry, Leave Happy!"


  1. Wow Barbara! What an incredible story and a wonderful example for Joshua. May God abundantly bless your generosity and heart for others.

  2. Thanks, Tamara, for the warm fuzzies. Your work amazes me as well. I've really enjoyed navigating TBA and know my students will be blessed by all of the amazing resources you're bundling and sharing!


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