While driving to work recently, a car suddenly cut in front of me. Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence on New Jersey’s high-speed, high-traffic roads, but I was annoyed nonetheless – especially when I exited the Parkway right behind this rude driver, and then happened to pull into the same Starbucks drive-thru. Obviously, it just wasn’t my morning.

But when I pulled up to the window to retrieve my coffee, the barista let me know the man in front of me – yes, the same one who flashed a not-so-kind gesture my way after nearly running me off the road – paid for my drink. I couldn’t help but smile. Even adults need to apologize every now and then, and buying my coffee was a simple yet meaningful act of kindness. I paid for the person behind me, and it appeared she did the same.

Time is tight. Many of us get caught up in the mad dash to the office. We’ve likely already glanced at our emails, flagging something that requires immediate attention as soon as we log-in. Some of us are groggy and cranky before that first cup of coffee (it’s not only me, right?). A little kindness from those around us often goes a long way to making our day just a little bit brighter.

My point is, whether on the Garden State Parkway or on the road of life, seemingly small gestures can make a big difference. Buying someone’s coffee or sending a kind note to your hardworking colleague to say, “Nice job!” won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. My challenge to you today is to pay it forward (and don’t cut anyone off in your rush to get to work!).

About Ashley Duvall

Specializing in media relations, social media strategy and social content creation, Ashley works with clients across various industries – accounting, technology, finance and law – and plays a key role in the development of client programs and overall project management. During her tenure with Stern Strategy Group, Ashley has gained experience working alongside associations and non-profit clients to help advance program goals. When not at work, you’ll find Ashley outside – from hiking to running or just hanging with family and friends.