Katherine went to her local bakery, and a homeless man standing in front asked her for some food. She bought him one of the bakery's famous sandwiches and started doing it daily for him. Until one day, the man wasn't around, so she did something that baffled other customers and changed some lives for the better.
Katherine had a ton of work to complete back home – her company was still strictly using the work-from-home systems – so she rushed through the streets of Philadelphia toward her favorite bakery. They made some of the best loaves and pastries in the world, but their sandwiches, in particular, were famous around the neighborhood.
They were made with their in-house sourdough, flaky on the outside and soft on the inside, with garlicky butter that didn't leave your mouth stinking. It also had mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, and black olives. Just the thought of it made her mouth water, and she didn't have the patience to order from a delivery app today. Therefore, she went to pick it up herself.
Katherine was looking forward to her favorite sandwich from the bakery. | Source: Unsplash
But just as she reached the door, a disheveled man stopped her. He was wearing layers of coats in various states of disarray and his gloves were tattered, so Katherine immediately assumed he was homeless.
"You're doing a very good deed," she smiled at Katherine, who grinned in return.
"Ma'am, can I ask you for some change to get some food?" the man asked, extending his hand to her.
"Oh, sir. I'm sorry. I don't have any cash on me," she replied, and her feet moved toward the door. But she pursed her lips and turned around. "Would you like a sandwich instead?"
"Yes, thank you so much," the man responded, nodding eagerly.
"Do you like black olives?" she asked and smiled at the man, who nodded again. She could tell by his attitude that he was honestly in need. Some people pretended to be homeless or penniless to get handouts, but this man was really hungry.
She offered him the to-go bag and felt amazing about her good deed. | Source: Unsplash
Sadly, there was not much he could do except offer him a sandwich, which would have to be enough for today. She bought two of her favorite sandwich from the store and added a soda for him as a treat. He offered him the bag containing the sandwich and drink, and he almost bowed to her in thanks.
"You don't know what this means to me. Thank you so much!" he said and crossed the street to eat on a bench in the park.
For some reason, Katherine felt good, even if all she could offer was some food. She had made a difference that day, and that satisfaction couldn't be explained. Feeling so good about helping someone was almost selfish, but she didn't care.
She returned home with a lighter skip in her step and ate in front of her computer while finishing her work.
The following day, the man was near the bakery again, and this time, she didn't wait for him to ask for food. She bought him the same meal as hers, and he was insanely grateful once again.
Terry was so thankful for Katherine's actions, and he offered her some money for it. | Source: Pexels
"My name is Terry, by the way. Here, this is a five-dollar bill that someone gave me. Is that enough for the sandwich?" the man offered.
Katherine shook her head and she pushed the bill away. "Keep it for your next meal, Terry. I'm glad I was able to buy something for you today. See you later," she responded with a kind smile. A prosciutto sandwich cost more than $5, but it was so worth it. And her heart eased at the idea that the man was eating some protein.
She felt so great about the good deed that she did it every day. Of course, she started changing her order. The bakery offered other kinds of sandwiches, including one with pesto sauce that made people roll their eyes in delight. One day, she actually sat down with Terry at the park in front of the bakery and enjoyed the meal with him.
Katherine ate with Terry one day, but something happened a few days later. | Source: Pexels
She could tell that Terry was even more grateful for her company than for the food, but he still devoured that sandwich, and she wondered if that was the only meal he got that day. It was a sad thought, and she always vowed to buy him something whenever she saw him.
Unfortunately, Terry was not around one day at the end of the week, and she waited for him a while before entering the bakery to buy her food. She looked around up and down the street and nothing. She walked a bit through the park, but the homeless man was not around. She didn't want him to miss his food that day, but she had to return to work soon.
Finally, Katherine couldn't wait for him any longer, so she went into the bakery and talked to the cashier/manager of the store, Mrs. Miller. Fortunately, the kind woman agreed with her plan, scanned her credit card, and smiled at her.
"You're doing a very good deed," she smiled at Katherine, who grinned in return. The woman gave her a notepad and a pen, and Katherine wrote a message. They posted it in front of the store, and Katherine hoped Terry would see it.
She spoke to the manager, Mrs. Miller, and did something beautiful for Terry. | Source: Pexels
Every customer asked Mrs. Miller about the note for the rest of the day. They were all somewhat confused about it and wanted to know what was happening.
"Oh, that note?" Mrs. Miller returned cheekily. "A kind young lady bought a sandwich for the homeless man who hangs around here. But he was not around, so she left him that note, explaining he can come anytime and we will make a sandwich for him."
"So, it's like a pay it forward initiative? I've seen some stores that do that for the less fortunate," a client commented to Mrs. Miller.
"I guess it is," the kind manager responded with a bright grin.
"How about I buy a cup of coffee for the next person in need?" Another customer offered, and Mrs. Miller nodded in return.
Terry came to the bakery later that day, saw the note, and hesitated to enter at first. But Mrs. Miller told him to come in and they made him a sandwich, then he actually sat at one of the tables to eat.
She couldn't believe her small action had inspired such kindness and felt even more wonderful about it. | Source: Pexels
Katherine and Terry's story traveled around the neighborhood, and soon enough, people bought things for the less fortunate as a "pay it forward" gesture. Katherine couldn't believe it when she went to the store the next time, and Mrs. Miller told her everything.
"Sometimes, one action can change lives for the better, and I hope this keeps happening. I have a notebook to keep track of all the pay-it-forward purchases, and it's a lot, sweetie. We're going to be helping a lot of people," the manager stated, patting Katherine's arm.
"I guess you are. This is wonderful," the young woman responded and ordered her usual two sandwiches.
What can we learn from this story?
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a waitress who fed a homeless man every day after seeing her boots from childhood.
This account is inspired by our reader's story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.