Many of us have a morning routine of pulling into a drive-thru and ordering a cup of coffee. Glen Oliver has that same routine, but he does something special while doing so each morning. Oliver’s routine includes paying for the order for the person behind him in line. It’s a simple gesture that usually gets a “thank you,” but in one instance, it might have saved a life.
The person that received the free coffee from Oliver decided to write a letter to his local paper. In the letter, he said that he was in a bad place in his life when Oliver made the purchase. In fact, they (the person did not identify who they were) said that they had planned to commit suicide. “I had planned to end it all at home in my own little ritual,” the writer said. “And explain my thoughts in a not for anyone who cares.”
Oliver’s gesture, though, made the person change their mind. After pulling through the Tim Horton’s location, the person went to grab their order and was told “The nice man already paid for it and he said to have a great day,” gesturing toward Oliver’s car. “I wondered why someone would buy coffee for a stranger for no reason,” the person continued.
“Why me? Why today? If I was a religious sort I would take this as a sign. This random act of kindness was directed at me on this day for a purpose.” Upon getting home, the person couldn’t help but cry and think about their direction in life.
“I decided at that moment to change my plans for the day and do something nice for someone,” they said. I ended up helping a neighbor take groceries out of her car and into the house.” This would continue as the person helped to pay it forward, and it “enriched my life in more ways than I could’ve imagined.”
The note concluded by thanking Oliver, though the person didn’t know his name at the time. “To the nice man in the SUV…thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know your kind gesture has truly saved a life…I not only had a great day, I had the greatest day!”
After the letter that made it to the newspaper started to go viral, people learned that it was Oliver, and how his generosity was a daily occurrence. People wanted to interview Oliver left and right, which took him aback. “I was blown away,” he said. “Couldn’t believe it.” He says he’s been doing this act for years just because he feels it’s the right thing to do.
“It’s the least I can do for some people, you know?” He said. “It’s like holding a door.” He never expected that it could change a life, though. “It’s exponential now,” Oliver said. “Like such a small, insignificant thing to most people just turned out to be…the planets align for somebody.”
Of course, Oliver felt some emotion from the story himself. “You never know the impact it will have on someone until you hear their story…It means a lot. I’m getting more sensitive as I get older.”
Oliver almost didn’t even know that the letter came across until his wife had spotted it in the local paper. “I was lying on the couch right beside her and I could hear her sniffling at what she was reading,” he said. “She came over to me and said ‘Read this.’ By the end of it, I was sniffling too.”
In the end, Oliver had a message for the anonymous person that he helped save. “I’m glad you took it as a sign and decided to change your plans for the day. It makes me feel like a million bucks to feel like I had some part in that.”