I’m a firm believer in karma. Not in the woo-woo sense, that “the universe will balance itself” or whatever, but that good things happen to good people.

Of course, bad things do, too, and good things to bad people — but in general, if you view the world with a positive lens and strive to make it a better place, your life will be fulfilling and happy.

Last week, I experienced a perfect example of this… in the Seattle airport.

My boyfriend, Tim, and I were eating lunch at Anthony’s (BTW, have you ever been there? Best airport restaurant ever!) when the band (yes, a live band — this is why I love SEATAC) started playing a gorgeous Sara Bareilles song.

As I started to sing along, a young woman behind me started to cry. At first a little, then a lot.

When Tim told me, I froze.

What should we do? Should we go and talk to her? Keep eating and pretend nothing is wrong?

My back was to her, so I had no idea what stage her crying was at. I only had Tim to rely on — and he’s a boy, so he thinks my sniffling at a sappy movie is cause to invoke martial law. But when he said she looked really upset, we decided we had to do something.

Alaskan snails
Do you think snails believe in karma?

As I’m sure most of you know from experience: crying in public places is not fun. Especially when you’re alone. I invited her to come and sit with us, and after a moment’s hesitation, she accepted.

We learned she was from the East coast and had to cut her trip to Alaska short. (We never asked why.) We chatted about travel, art, and seafood, and eventually her tears turned into smiles, and even laughter. Though she said it was going to be tough for her once she got home, we were happy knowing we’d made 30 minutes of her day a little better.

Everyone was already feeling pretty good. Then, the waitress dropped off our checks and told us someone had paid for all of our drinks.

I looked at her, surprised. “Do they know us?” (Not unlikely when a flight to Ketchikan is leaving soon.)

She said no. “They just wanted to buy them for you.”

After hugs were exchanged and our new friend left to catch her flight, the waitress came back over to us. She explained that our mysterious benefactor bought our drinks because they thought inviting the young woman to sit with us had been nice.

I. Was. Shocked.

Never in my life have I thought to pay for a stranger’s drinks from afar. (Shots at the bar, on the other hand…)

Who does that outside of the movies? It was so unexpected, and so kind.


Only after I came out of my daze did I recognize that, for the mystery person, this was their way of helping. They’re comfortable paying for things, and I’m comfortable talking to people. Maybe they wanted to do something when they saw her crying, but were too shy.

And their small action made me realize something HUGE.

It doesn’t matter how you’re making the world a better place. All that matters is you’re trying. (Click to tweet!)

Whether it’s talking to the lonely senior citizen on your bus, volunteering once a month at an animal shelter, or donating money to your favorite charity, the important thing is to help in the way that fits you best.

So you’re mute, homebound, and broke? Still no excuses. There are two actions anyone is capable of: smiling and being nice.

Which reminds me of two of my favorite quotes:

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~ Dalai Lama (Click to tweet!

“We cannot do great things on this Earth. Only small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa

Make one person’s day a little brighter, and who knows? They very well might pay it forward. Just like the lovely stranger who bought us those drinks.

As we were leaving the restaurant, I could barely contain my happiness. When Tim asked me what I was so giddy about, I replied, “I just love it when there’s proof that there IS good in the world. It’s a beautiful place.”

Do you agree with me? Is there good in the world? Is it a beautiful place? And is it easy to make it even more beautiful?