Redditor brbmycatexploded recently experienced this exact situation at Tampa International Airport.
"Having my card declined was extremely embarrassing, even though I didn't know a single soul in that airport," the Reddit user, who asked to be identified by just his first name, Andy, told Yahoo! Shine.
His story has a happy ending, though. When he returned to the counter, a Good Samaritan had generously paid his baggage fee and left a note:
"Hey, I heard them say your card was declined. I know how it feels. Your bag fee's on me. Just pay it forward the next time you get a chance. Have a safe flight. :)"
On Wednesday, Andy posted a photo of the note on Reddit and wrote, "If you're reading this, thanks for making my day."
The kind deed didn't just have a financial impact. "Seriously, reading their note gave me goosebumps and gave me faith that there are still good people out there," Andy shared with Shine.
But he's not going to plan out how he'll pay it forward. "I think it will be a random decision, a spur-of-the-moment type thing," he explained. "I really don't think that that person walked into that airport, saying, 'I'm going to pay someone's baggage fee today.' So neither will I."
The random-act-of-kindness post has inspired other Redditors to share how they've spontaneously helped strangers or vice versa.
Poundt0wn described that while on vacation with his family, a man approached poundt0wn’s father with a flower and asked him if he would buy it so that he could use the money to purchase food for his family. Poundt0wn’s dad pulled out $100 and gave it to the man. “Fifteen minutes later,” wrote poundt0wn, “we see the same guy walking on the sidewalk again. This time, he had at least 10 bags of groceries hanging from his arms, one of which contained diapers.”
Redditor jacenborne explained that while at a Chick-fil-A drive-through, a woman in front of him paid for his meal. There was no one behind him, so he couldn’t return the favor. “But it was such a happy moment of human benevolence that is rarely seen in society,” commented jacenborne.
During a trip to an auto parts store, Synssins noticed a woman with two kids leaving the store without a battery she needed for her car, since she couldn’t afford it. The Redditor kindly bought the battery and installed it for her. “I asked her to pop her hood, and she at first looked at me like, ‘What?’ and then saw what I had with me. She asked me why, and I just said, ‘Because someone did something nice for me once.’ I installed her battery while she was crying and thanking me.”
More on Yahoo!: 3 Acts of Giving for You and Your Family
Another Reddit user commented that while in a convenience store at 3 a.m., a man was purchasing diapers, milk, formula, and toilet paper, but his card was declined. As he was calculating which necessities he really needed, ThatSpuds came to his rescue. “So I walk up to the counter and give the guy $20," ThatSpuds wrote. "I don’t say a word, and I don’t expect anything in return, not even a thank you. But the guy turns around. Gets on his knees and wraps his arms around me and tells me that I have just made a profound difference.”
ThatSpuds added, “So pay it forward with all of your might, because someone out there is depending on you.”
Do you have an inspiring pay-it-forward story? Share it with us in the comments.
More on Shine:
Reddit's Mass Pizza Delivery to 2-Year-Old Cancer Patient
Mystery Man Buys 500 Coffees at Tim Hortons in an Inspiring Random Act of Kindess
Olive Garden's Good Deed Sparks Reddit Controversy