When somebody does something nice for you, it’s perfectly acceptable to just say “thank you” and be on your merry way. Still, this is only basic courtesy, and if you want to go beyond that, it’s going to take a bit more effort.
What many people will do in response to a kind gesture is to do something nice in return. Yet others like to spread the good feelings and help someone else entirely—perhaps even a complete stranger!
This is called “paying it forward,” and it’s a value employed by thousands of people around the world, including one man named Mike Kestermann.
Soldiers at a convenience store had all their items paid for by Mike Kestermann.
Darlene Davis was just working her regular cashier shift at an AmeriStop convenience store in Greendale, Indiana, when a group of roughly 25 soldiers entered the store recently.
With immense respect for the troops, Kestermann stood next to each soldier behind the counter, willing to pay for every item they wanted.
Davis was amazed by this interaction and wanted others to see it too. So she recorded it on video.
The video she took was only around 90 seconds long, far less time than it would have taken to help out 25 different soldiers. Yet it still provides a good example of the thoughtfulness within Kestermann’s heart.
“Come up here,” Kestermann encouraged the soldiers. “Get up here.”
He bought the soldiers all sorts of things—from snacks to drinks to gum—all while making friendly small talk with them.
“You are ready to head home, aren’t you?” he asked one soldier, referring to the training at the nearby Camp Atterbury which was about to end.
“This is about you today,” Kestermann said to another soldier.
“I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you so much sir, I really appreciate it,” one soldier said to him before heading out with many snacks and drinks.
Kestermann’s final bill totaled $148.
This wasn’t the first time he has done this, and it likely won’t be the last.
In June, Davis shared the video on her Facebook page where it gained over 84,000 views in just two weeks. Clearly a lot of people were impressed by his kindness, including Davis.
“He didn’t want anything back from it,” Davis told WTHR. “He didn’t know I was videotaping at the time.
“I just wanted people to see there are people out there who still care about other people.”
Yet, for Kestermann, it was just an ordinary day.
“Just wanted to make a difference,” he said. “That gave me an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life in a few minutes.”
“Actually, I do it quite often. Like someone had told me, you just got caught this time.”
Kestermann hoped the video would motivate others to support the troops and show kindness toward others.
Kestermann inspired Davis to pay for soldiers too.
He got his wish soon after, as Davis picked up the bill for the next group of soldiers who arrived in a separate convoy.
It wasn’t just Kestermann’s actions that compelled her to do this. With a son and a daughter who served in the military, Davis felt compelled to give back.
Davis hasn’t revealed what her final bill was, but it’s clear that the convoy was very appreciative. The soldier’s commander entered the store and gave Davis a big hug—one that brought tears to her eyes.
“Our young men and women they put their lives on the line every day they are doing this,” Kestermann said. “We have to show appreciation for what they are doing.”