In Line Behind Me

Do you ever grow weary of standing in line at the grocery store? Or become frustrated with people in front of you at the coffee shop because they can’t decide what pastry they want that morning?

Janelle Elms, of the Seattle area, has a different view. She believes we can be so consumed in ourselves and getting to the front of the line, we can forget there are others behind us.

Several years ago while getting coffee at a Starbucks, Janelle paid for the person in the car behind her. The woman, angry and confused, confronted Janelle, who explained she just wanted to bless the lady. The result was that a woman who was on her way to an important doctor’s appointment - alone - found someone who cared enough to buy her a cup of coffee. It made a difference.

After that experience, Janelle created “In Line Behind Me.” The organizations’ tag line is, “Sometimes it just takes a cup of coffee to change the world.”

The thought behind the movement is similar to “showing random acts of kindness” or “paying it forward.” Pay for a stranger’s coffee – or perhaps even his lunch or fee at a toll booth. Leave a note or a small card with an explanation for the cashier to hand the stranger.

Be creative. There are things you can do to help someone without having to spend any money. A man shared on the radio this morning what he does when it’s time to renew his car tabs or driver’s license. Instead of pulling just one number that will put him in line to wait, he pulls two numbers, knowing he may have to wait an hour or more before his turn. When he sees someone who will benefit by moving ahead in the line – like a mother with small children – he gives her one of the numbers and tells her go ahead of him. He blesses the person and is blessed by knowing he’s helped make her day a bit easier.

Find out more about “In Line Behind Me,” and read stories of people who have done something nice for the person behind at

Sometimes it just takes a cup of coffee to change the world.


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