Reader Amélie stopped by a McDonald’s recently. When she drove up to pay, the cashier told to put her money back. The person in front of her had paid for her meal… and passed along this card:
Since Amélie is an “agnostic who leans towards atheism,” this posed a dilemma. She wasn’t sure what to do:
I can’t accept this. I prefer science-based thinking and ideology to be promoted and spread throughout the world. I don’t feel right — won’t ever feel right — accepting this free food knowing it was free for the purpose of spreading an ideology I don’t believe in. By the time I came to this conclusion I was back on the highway and halfway through my fries. My destination, aka home, was about 30 minutes away and I used that time to think about what I would do to make my world right again.
You can see what she did in response here. (I think it was a wonderful way to pay it forward.)
I’ll admit, though, regardless of intention, that’s a pretty nice gesture from the Christians. I’m a little upset they beat us to it. We can’t let them show us up like that. It comes off like Christians are the only people who would do something that nice… and, dammit, we know that’s not true! In fact, there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing — hell, we’ll come up with a fancy name like Fast Food Friends for what we’re doing, too. My proposal: Atheist Acts of Altruism.
For a few bucks (that most of us probably wouldn’t miss), we could make a random stranger’s day that much better. So let’s do it. Go do something nice for someone you don’t know. Pay for someone’s food without letting them know who did it. Send someone you haven’t talked to in a long time a nice email letting them know how much you care about them. Instead of eating the next baby you see, save it for the next person. Whatever you do, please email me and tell me what you did and how you felt. I’d love to compile them for a future post.