September 11th -- Pay It Backward

In honor of this, the 12th anniversary of 9/11, I'd like to feature a personal blog post that I wrote last year on 9/11/12, because this is what I'd also like to remember about 9/11.

It's September 11th: pay it backward!

Here is my post from last year, with the goal of making this a very special way of acknowledging September 11th.

I had honestly not really thought about it ahead of time, at least not until it was 7 a.m. and I was taking the train into New York. I wasn't even supposed to be in the city today, but as schedules change I was heading in for a very busy day. That's when it hit me: the endless streams of tributes and "I remembers" on Facebook and Twitter about September 11th.

It's 9/11, the 11th anniversary of that horrible day in New York, the U.S., and the entire world.

I really do believe that 9/11 should become a National Day of Remembrance or something like that. It's a day that most of us want to be at home with our family and friends. It deserves the recognition. I feel it each and every year, and this year is no different, as it turns out.

So feeling a little sad and a little blue along my commute, I stepped into my usual Starbucks to have what turned out to be an experience that will now become a new memory added to the collection of thoughts about 9/11.

I was standing at the register having already ordered my drink, getting ready to pay. The guy in front turns to the barista (and to me) and says, "It's September 11th, so I am going to pay for his coffee."

My immediate reaction: "What!?" And then it hit me: kindness. It's become a National Day of Kindness, and this guy was paying it backward (to the guy behind him in line, who happened to be me). A bit shocked, I could think of nothing to do but to give him a hug as he went off on his way. Kindness.

Of course as soon as I got to the office, all memories faded to the buzz of emails, conference calls, and meetings. Until I got to lunch.

Thinking nothing of it, I decided to get outside for five minutes and get a quick slice of pizza for lunch. I'm about to pay for my food, and the lightbulb goes off in my head. So I turned to the guy at the register (and to the very lovely woman behind me) and said, "It's September 11th, so I am going to pay for her pizza."

Kindness. September 11th -- pay it backward (to the person behind you in line).

Let's make this a National Day of Kindness every single year.