French pressMy younger daughter, a college senior, recently realized she had a bunch of money on her dining card — minimum meal-plan fees she’s had to pay the school although she never ate on campus. And since she’s going from full-time status to part-time status this summer and moving off campus, she had to use the money or lose it. Fast. Before, when she’s wanted to get the balance down, she would load up on fruit and non-perishables in the campus cafe and then try to distribute the bounty to friends, random strangers and anybody she came across who was hungry. However, the balance this time was rather more substantial and would take a ton of bananas and little boxes of cereal to erase. But in an unbelievable stroke of luck, a Starbucks recently opened in the main campus library. And — students could use their meal cards there! Jackpot!!! Can you imagine going in to a Starbucks with practically an unlimited budget? Of course, if it were me, I’d zero in on one of those huge and expensive espresso machines and buy out all those adorably cute mugs. And I could see where someone with an entrepreneurial bent would try to parlay the windfall into bigger profits. But my daughter had a better idea: She said she’s had so much fun buying drinks for everybody in line (“A round of lattes for everybody!”) and French presses and other goodies for the baristas who work there. “It made me wish I were really rich so I could go around buying stuff for people all the time and making them feel good,” she said. “The definite highlight of my week.” If she’s learning the value of giving rather than receiving, then I think her college education is going to pay off.

9 thoughts on “Giving

  1. Soon, the value of good budgeting will be an excellent lesson, too …

  2. This was interesting. But my ‘ears’ really perked up when you said you wish you were rich so you could go around buying people things. Let me know when that happens!! Ha!

  3. Aw, thank you all for the kind words. She had so much fun doing that — not sure if that’s what her university had in mind when it tacked on the $225 mandatory meal-plan fee to every semester, but there you go!

  4. Random acts of kindness are the best. I do this from time to time at the drive thru coffee stands and treat the car behind me…. Like to see the surprise on the driver’s face as I pull away….

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