Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tales from Med School: Pay It Forward

When I was in med school, about 16 of us were at a Chinese restaurant to celebrate a friend's birthday.

One girl at the table was very loudly relating a story that happened to her during anatomy. Her partners were straightening out the plastic covering on top of their cadaver and she was standing on the other side of the table. Anyway, as her partners shook out the plastic, she ended up getting drenched in "cadaver juice," including getting some in her mouth. Yes, this is what med students discuss during meals.

Anyway, when one of the girls in our party went to get our check at the end of the meal, this older guy who was sitting at the next table told her not to bother, that he was going to pay it.

"You know, there are SIXTEEN of us," the girl told him.

"I know," he said. "My nephew is a med student and you guys work really hard and have enough financial troubles."

So he paid for our entire check.

We were floored. The guy at the cash register told us that the man came in a lot and he was apparently pretty rich. Still, it was such a nice thing to do! I'll never forget it.

I can't help but think maybe someday in the future I'll have the opportunity to do something nice like that for a bunch of young people. Maybe someday when I'm not paying $40,000 per year in childcare.


  1. You can still do little nice things, like pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line.
    I find it makes you feel as good as they do.

  2. At NP Odyssey: You make a good point...we generally think small gestures are not enough... but they can be just as sweet.

  3. Is that the real, true, unexaggerated cost of child care? For one child? In post-tax dollars? Eek!

  4. PGYx -- It depends on the city, how many children, the quality/quantity of the childcare, and if you pay taxes for your nanny (if you're going with that option). But yes, basically.

  5. PGYx: Approx $35,000/yr for 2 kids in daycare

  6. And here I was complaining about $15,000/yr for 2 kids in Montessori school...

  7. That is so awesome!
    One day when I am not overloaded with med-school debts, I will do nice things like that too...
    This I have learnt: It is not only the poor that need kindness.

  8. Good story. My wife and I have been talking about how we can start to give back, even though we both have educational debt, but I look forward to that day when I can do nice things like what you described without worrying if I'll have to give up high speed internet for the month to do.