My Ten Dollar Challenge (Sort of)

On the heels of Billy Coffey’s Ten Dollar Challenge, I went to my secret stash of gift cards and pulled out the one from Starbucks. I decided I was going to bless a few people with some overpriced coffee. And as luck would have it, the card was for $20.

Saturday morning, I ventured out to the nearest Starbucks. It was super crowded, and I wanted to do this on the down low. After a few minutes of getting in and out of line and pretending to look at Indy CD’s and gift mugs, I decided to pull an employee aside and speak to him privately.

Me: “I was wondering if you could help me out with something.”

SBE: “Sure. How can I help?”

Me: “I have this $20 gift card, and I would like to buy coffee for however many people $20 will buy coffee for. Here’s the catch, though – I don’t want anyone to know who bought the coffee. I would like to remain anonymous. I’m going to buy a cup of coffee, then I’m going to go sit down in a corner somewhere. Capeesh?”

SBE: “Wow! What a wonderful thing you’re doing. That’s really nice – etc…”

Me: “Okay, great. Please wait until after I get a cup of coffee, and remember – I don’t want anyone to know who bought the coffee.”

SBE: “Okay. This is really great…”

So you know where this is headed, right? Yeah, thought so…

I’m standing in line. I go to place my order and the girl at the register is absolutely BEAMING at me. I order my Venti Cafe Americano (because I don’t drink sissy coffee drinks). I try to pay her and she says, “No. That’s okay.”

And I’m like, “No, really. I want to pay for it.”

And she’s like, “No. It’s on us. You know, for your kindness.”

At this point I’m thinking to myself, “Well the lady behind me is probably wondering why I’m so kind, and she going to know who paid for her coffee. Dang it.” Turns out she didn’t have to figure anything out because the girl at register is smiling and pointing at me!

Bless her heart. I knew she meant well, but how embarrassing! So I got one heartfelt “Thank you” from the lady behind me and then I high-tailed it out of there.

Sigh…The best laid plans, huh? But I suppose I did buy coffee for a few people, and I didn’t do it for my own glory. It’s just that it would have made a more interesting post if I could tell you some of the reactions I had witnessed.

But I’m not giving up. During the month of December, I am going to attempt to bless others in small ways and report back each week. To accomplish this, I plan to reserve Wednesdays here to let you know how I did — hopefully better than my first attempt.

I’m also working on getting a blog button that you can grab either here or on Billy Coffey’s blog if you would like to participate in the Ten Dollar Challenge. Billy will designate a spot on his blog to link your stories and your blogs. We hope to share some inventive ways to give big in small ways.

I’ll let you know as soon as we get everything set up. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on ways to give back and bless others, I would sure love to hear them!

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17 Responses to “My Ten Dollar Challenge (Sort of)”

  1. Heather Sunseri December 2, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    >What a funny story, Katdish! And I'm inspired to join the challenge. I'll be thinking on that.

  2. ~*Michelle*~ December 2, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    >That is hilarious! And I am sure…..very Katdish-typical, huh?

    Even though you didn't get to visually "see" the smile…..I hope you felt it in your heart. I am so sure you brightened a few people's day. Awesome!

    Here is a couple of things we do once in awhile as a "pay it forward" kinda deal.

    Pay for the person behind you in a drive thru (crossing your fingers that it isn't a minivan filled to the max with hungry teenagers…..been there, done that, LOL)

    or another great one we do as a tradition on our way to The Soulfest……we pay 5 times the toll so that the next five people that pass through don't have to.

  3. katdish December 2, 2009 at 8:58 am #


    I've done the drive thru thing, love the toll idea! Thanks.

  4. Annie K December 2, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    >I don't know what I'll do yet. I'm a 'spur-of-the-moment-fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' type of gal.

  5. Helen December 2, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    >I'm with Annie. I don't know what I'll do, but I accept the challenge. I just know that now that I have, HS will put someone in my path for whom it is meant.

  6. Alisha De Freitas December 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm #


    Love your blog! You're so funny. I followed the link from the comm box in Matt's egg nog story.

    Anyway, this is a great idea. I think I'm going to try it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. ♥ Kathy December 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    >That was really nice of you Katdish…I've had people tell me they wanted to pay for the car behind them in the drive thru before.

  8. jasonS December 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    >This is too funny. I knew when you started that the register girl was going to tell everyone. 🙂 so great!

  9. Sarah Salter December 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    >It's the thought that counts. Your heart was in the right place. 🙂

  10. Corinne December 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    >This could be made into a fantastic commercial for kindness!
    It's a great attempt!

  11. Matt @ The Church of No People December 2, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    >Yeah, if it were me, that woman behind me would've thanked me, and I'd be like 'yeah right I'm paying for your coffee. I don't even know you!' Then I'd take back my gift card and try again until I could bless someone anonymously.

  12. Peter P December 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    >They gave you your coffee free? That was awesome!

    You got pay back for being kind before it even happened!

  13. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus December 4, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    >Great story. I've got $10 in my pocket and eyes open for an opportunity. We'll see how God leads …

    Thanks for sharing your story. It was a good one.

  14. Bina @ Bina's Pad December 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    >Ha ha – ok that was funny…because that is how MY luck works out too! 🙂 I will be working on my story…thanks for sharing!


  15. Heart2Heart December 4, 2009 at 6:27 pm #


    What a great way of making great use of those gift cards so many of us happen to carry around with us and never use them.

    I love the know what the reactions were! What a great way to start off someone's day with not only coffee, but free as well!

    I am linking Billy's button to my ARK for God or Acts of Random Kindness for God blog!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat
    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  16. RCUBEs December 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    >That would have been interesting to know what the people's reaction would have been as they got their free cups of coffee, had that girl {SBE} kept a secret…Then again, how often does someone pulls out a card and treats people this way? Rarely…Can't blame her if she got excited. Great idea. God bless.

  17. L.L. Barkat December 9, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    >Came over through HCB. Totally amusing story. So, now I know how to get a FREE cup of non-sissy coffee for $20. 🙂

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