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Remembering Jayden and Paying It Forward This Christmas

A Patch editor describes how he joined the campaign to lift spirits and remember a young Michigan boy who died of cancer

It started with a simple gesture.

Jayden Lamb's father and stepmother were in a drive-through Starbucks line a few days after the 8-year-old Michigan boy had died of cancer.

They decided to pay for whatever the car behind them was ordering. It was a symbolic thank you to the community for supporting them during Jayden's two-year battle with cancer.

Tom and Nicole Lamb posted their deed on the Facebook page they started when Jayden was being treated. Then, things began to happen.

A waitress got a $50 tip with a note that said "In memory of Jayden Lamb."

Another woman had all of her Christmas layaway gifts paid off with a similar note attached.

The Jayden Facebook has grown to more than 32,000 members.

I saw this story of remembrance and kindness on the CBS Evening News on Friday night.

In honor of the Lambs' "Starbucks moment," I went to the Starbucks on Main Street in downtown Walnut Creek on Saturday afternoon for a small tribute to Jayden.

I bought my coffee, then purchased three $10 gift cards. I told the counter person to wait 10 minutes, then use the gift cards to pay for three customers' orders. I asked them to then give the customers the gift card with whatever was left on it. With the gift card was a handwritten note that said, "Paying it forward, in memory of Jayden Lamb."

The first recipient was a middle-aged woman who looked a little tired from Christmas shopping. When the Starbucks employee handed her the card and the note, she straightened in surprise. She asked who had done this and the Starbucks employee honored my request not to tell.

The woman glanced around the room with a surprised smile to see if she could figure it out, but I kept working at my laptop and didn't give myself away.

Next up was a teenage girl who ordered something for herself and two friends. She too was stunned when she was told her order was free and she was given the card and note.

The girl wandered back to her friends who were sitting behind me and said, "Hey guys. We got all this stuff free."

The final recipient was a father with a boy a little younger than Jayden and a baby in a stroller. He smiled when he got the card and note. His son looked up and said, "Dad, did we just get a free gift card?" "Yes, we did," the father replied.

Now, it was certainly fun watching these folks get their unexpected holiday gift.

More importantly, I hope they searched the Internet for Jayden Lamb and found his Facebook page. I hope they'll do something similar in remembrance of a remarkable Michigan boy and his parents.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

amanda December 24, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Paying it forward Jayden style!
eastbay48 December 27, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I paid it forward on Christmas eve, buying the gas station attendant some lottery scratchers after buying some for myself. I asked her which ones she liked (she thought I just wanted her input), bought them and gave them to her. I said "Merry Christmas and I hope you win big" and I was so choked up because it felt so good to do (and her reaction) I couldn't get out "for Jayden, keep on truckin'!" I hope I read "CCCounty woman wins jackpot with gifted ticket"!

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