Now I Know How It Feels

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Hello from the air! (Again) I’m traveling to Philadelphia this weekend for BFF Lauren’s goodbye party.  She is moving to Singapore for work for THREE YEARS so my college friends are all getting together for one last hurrah.


After going through security, I stopped by Starbucks for some iced coffee.  As I was placing my order, I looked down at the countertop and found this:


Someone had intentionally left this Chinese fortune right near the packets of nuts – it was tucked away to the side so you’d only see it by chance, neatly lined up with the counter.  A big, broad smile spread across my face – it was kind of like finding an Operation Beautiful note!  It was just so cool to think that someone had intentionally left it there for a stranger to find.  I loved imaging who left it and why, what they were thinking about and hoping would come their way soon.


I was so surprised that I took the note with me, which I know happens a lot with Operation Beautiful notes (if you post one and it disappears, don’t fret – sometimes people take them and save them in their wallet).  I immediately regretted moving the note so then I left it on the arm of a chair:


I lined it up perfectly so someone would know it was left there intentionally.  🙂 It was such a nice feeling to find a little message from a stranger!  It definitely made my morning.


In other news… I actually planned ahead for this trip and packed my lunch.


A Dakota bread sammie with almond buttah:


Two little Clementines:


And steamed and salted edamame.  I’ve decided that edamame are one of the best portable snacks – it’s hard to find a portable green vegetable that you actually WANT to eat.  But salty edamame is perfect!


What’s the nicest thing a stranger or acquaintance has ever done for you?  Have you ever found an Operation Beautiful note?



  • Freya (Brit Chick Runs) August 20, 2010, 1:25 pm

    Oh that’ so sweet!
    I’ve never found an OB note 🙁 I hope to one day!
    Btw – are you allowed to pack lunch and bring it on a plane!? I thought you could only bring in food you buy after security? Lucky you!

    • caitlin August 20, 2010, 1:28 pm

      as long as it isnt a liquid or gel!

      • Sana August 20, 2010, 1:54 pm

        Lol! I took all of my HLS swag as carry on 🙂

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up August 20, 2010, 1:28 pm

    How cool! I love finding things like that! 🙂

  • Amanda August 20, 2010, 1:29 pm

    It’s so nice that you again passed the note along!

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 20, 2010, 1:29 pm

    That is so neat. I have found fortunes like that before, but not that great of a message!

    My husband leaves me little notes in my purse or in my wallet. Sometimes I find them the same day and sometimes it takes me a few days. I love finding them because they instantly brighten my day!

    • Amanda August 20, 2010, 2:58 pm

      I love finding notes like that! My boyfriend left me a note on the mirror that said “You Look Beautiful” when he had to leave on a long trip. The next morning I found another note on my full length mirror that said “You Still Look Beautiful”. It made my day. He knows I always double check myself in the full length mirror before I leave 🙂

      • Wei-Wei August 21, 2010, 3:35 am

        That is the sweetest thing!

  • Leanne @ Radiant, Balanced & Fit August 20, 2010, 1:32 pm

    A girl I work with came into work one day with a green tea for me. Something so simple, yet it meant so much knowing we work with 30+ staff and she thought to bring me something.

    The little surprises in life always mean way more to me then the big extravagent things!

  • Victoria August 20, 2010, 1:36 pm

    Oh, I love stuff like that. Have a blast with your friends!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 20, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I’d love to find an operation beautiful note. How cool would that be?!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) August 20, 2010, 1:37 pm

    it’s not as common in colorado as it was in texas, but i really love it when someone holds the door open for me. probably one of the best ways to brighten my day!

    • SaraRM August 21, 2010, 9:36 am

      Completely agree with this! But I am a Texas girl so I get kinda mad when it doesnt happen, but still appreciate it when it does.

  • Hannah August 20, 2010, 1:40 pm

    This past spring I found an Operation Beautiful note in one of the academic buildings at my college. I go to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, so I thought it was pretty cool that since you were from Florida at the time your idea made it all the way up here! It definitely put a smile on my face to see the notes (there were more than one!) and it was cool to see Operation Beautiful in person rather than just reading about it on your blog.

  • Meg August 20, 2010, 1:40 pm

    That’s SO cool! I’ve left an OB note at a supermarket and checked right before I left the store, and it was already gone, haha! Never found one myself, though, maybe soon!

    Have a safe flight!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! August 20, 2010, 1:41 pm

    That must have been SUCH a great feeling! It’s always so nice to find little reminders of how wonderful people can be. I got an anonymous note in my faculty mailbox last year that said that folks at the school really appreciated my work. It absolutely made my day! Enjoy Philadelphia, and thanks for the great post! 🙂

  • Lisa August 20, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I posted last week that I stumbled on a note written on the sidewalk in chalk. It was cool. 🙂

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef August 20, 2010, 1:43 pm

    aww so fun! i love finding bookmarks in library books… share the love amongst readers 🙂

  • Camille August 20, 2010, 1:44 pm

    Yesterday I was ringing a girl and her brother up at work and her card kept getting declined. She was really upset and didn’t know what to do when the man in line behind her offered to pay for her frozen yogurt! I rarely see anything so kind happen!
    This totally made my night, which was my last night at work before I move next week. For his kindness, I ended up giving him his yogurt for free.
    There are good people out there 🙂

  • Scargosun August 20, 2010, 1:45 pm

    oooo! Where are you going to be in Philly? You will be in my neck of the woods. There are some great restaurants that are right up your alley not to mention Reading Terminal Market. Have fun with the girls!

  • Kristy @ August 20, 2010, 1:45 pm

    That’s so awesome! I have not discovered or left an Operation Beautiful note yet. I am very motivated to do it though. I would leave one in my bathroom at work, but I’m the only female on this side of the office. I guess I could post one for myself. 😉

  • Kelly August 20, 2010, 1:46 pm

    My neighbor once brought my cat back after she climbed across the roof into their house. That’s not really a stranger though.

  • mindy @ just a one girl revolution. August 20, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Way to plan ahead! I was home a couple weekends ago, and there’s a Great Harvest so I picked up some of the dakota bread since you talk about it so much. It’s so good!! Love it!

  • Dorry August 20, 2010, 1:46 pm

    So fun to find something with such good intention. One time Billy and I were having dinner at a semi-fancy place in NYC and the older couple next to us picked up our dinner tab! We were totally taken off guard but so thankful. 🙂

  • Jolene ( August 20, 2010, 1:47 pm

    I have never found an operation beautiful note … but I am sure I will soon!!!

  • Hedda August 20, 2010, 1:50 pm

    What a wonderful little discovery to bright up a day 🙂

    There have been so many kind strangers in my life, but most recently there was a bus driver who offered me to ride for free. I was walking in the rain, when he stopped the bus and asked where I was going. We were heading in the same direction, so he offered to give me a lift.

    I have yet to find a Operation Beautiful- note, but I hope that mine have brightened up somebodys day 🙂

  • Kathryn August 20, 2010, 1:58 pm

    A couple of weeks ago I was stopped at a roadside stand looking over the popcorn selection when my 2-year-old daughter puked all over the both of us. I took her back to the car to try to clean us up. I can’t tell you how many people offered us wipes, a blanket, even the shirt off their backs (as mine was COVERED). I was very grateful for the kindness of strangers that day.

  • Tina August 20, 2010, 1:58 pm

    How cool! A perfect message for you too. I’ve never found an OB note, but I’ve left my fair share.

    Have fun with your friends. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to a friend for that long. Or being her and traveling somewhere for that length of time. Wow!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 20, 2010, 2:00 pm

    I’ve never come across a note like that but other random acts of kindness are so unexpected they can totally make my day.

  • Meghan August 20, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I know this is setting the bar pretty low, but I really appreciate when people hold the door for you. I also like when they acknowledge that you do it for them, especially if you have to wait a few seconds to hold it. Just a smile or nod is enough, but I am a little amazed how many people will just stroll on through like you are a doorwoman–its not going to stop me though–speaking kindness is much easier than being indifferent to everyone around you.

  • tanya August 20, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I saw a sticker note posted on the light pole of the grocery store parking lot; it said smile god loves you…it was at a perfect time for me

  • Jordy August 20, 2010, 2:17 pm

    I’ve never found an Operation Beautiful note, but just this morning I posted my very first one! I put it on the bathroom mirror in my hall at college. I hope it takes someone by surprise and makes her day a little better. It sure made me feel good. 🙂 I bought your book yesterday, Caitlin, and it is just SO inspiring!! You created a truly wonderful thing with these notes. Thank you.

    • caitlin August 20, 2010, 4:00 pm

      I am so glad you are enjoying the book!

  • Sarah for Real August 20, 2010, 2:21 pm

    Is edamame a vegetable? I thought it was a legume… Or maybe legumes are considered vegetables? I’m confused.

    You are right either way, edamame is eda-yumme 😀

    • caitlin August 20, 2010, 4:01 pm

      Hahah to me, green = vegetable?

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion August 20, 2010, 2:22 pm

    I agree with your statement about edamame. I had a strange in front of my pay my toll on the highway, it was so sweet.

  • Teacherwoman August 20, 2010, 2:23 pm

    That is too cool about the fortune! Awesome!

  • Jes August 20, 2010, 2:24 pm

    I make almost all the jewelry I make, so when a complete stranger compliments me on my necklace, it instantly brings happiness to my day because they genuinely liked something that I created with my own hands.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair August 20, 2010, 2:28 pm

    Sad, I was hoping to see pics of the little boy you were twittering about 😉

    Have a great time with your college girlfriends! Can’t believe your BFF is moving to Singapore!! Well now you’ll have a good excuse to go visit!

  • Melissa August 20, 2010, 2:28 pm

    Have a safe trip!! If you get a chance, go to The Reading Terminal for lunch.. they have EVERYTHING! When are you leaving? I have a flight out Sunday morning to go to Florida!

  • Monica August 20, 2010, 2:37 pm

    Oh I love it! What an inspiring way to start your weekend! 🙂

    Nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me – well it is a story that sticks out in my mind, but didn’t happen to me, but is a great example of stranger-kindness. When my grandma died my Mom was pretty young and had to fly without my Dad back home to help her family with funeral arrangements. My Mom sat next to a little old lady who talked with her the entire flight and provided her with so much comfort and strength that she was able to get through that incident a little bit better.

  • Ann August 20, 2010, 2:43 pm

    I used to work in a small coffee shop. One cool fall day when it was pooring rain, a man in a suit came in. Dripping wet. He said his car broke down a few blocks away, and ordered a cup of coffee. Then he realized he left his wallet in his car. I told him not to worry about it, that the coffee was on the house. He was so grateful. When I went back to work a couple of days later there was an envelope with my name on it. He had come back and left me a note and $20. The note was so sweet, I carried it in my wallet for a few years. I wish I would have kept it longer!

  • Maren August 20, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Have a safe trip! and have FUN! I have never found an Operation Beautiful note, but I hope to someday! I have left some though! 🙂

  • Kacy August 20, 2010, 2:57 pm

    I’ve never found an OB note, but I love encouraging notes on bathroom walls. That’s a great “fortune” to stumble upon 🙂

  • Caitlin @ Right Foot Forward August 20, 2010, 3:04 pm

    I still haven’t found an Operation Beautiful note! You had a great find today, though.

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged August 20, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Mmm, Dakota bread always makes me salivate. I don’t know how people can eat the boring, plain, soggy white stuff – I like my bread to have some substance!

    I’ve never found an actual operation beautiful note, but I am lucky enough to have an amazing close guy friend who always knows just how to give me an ego boost at the right moment. One day when I walked into a class we were taking together, he texted me to tell me “the back of your hips look ridiculous…lady, you’re gorgeous!” We’re completely 100% platonic friends, but it’s always nice to get compliments from a guy like that 🙂

  • Amanda @ Vegacious August 20, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I was a part of a pay it forward day in my town at a local Starbucks drive-thru. The person ahead of me paid for my drink – and then I paid for the person who was behind me. It was on the news later, and I found out that this went on for more than 8 hours! How cool is that?!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write August 20, 2010, 3:26 pm

    I love that you found that! It’s almost serendipitous (sp?!?) for the Op Beautiful gal to find a note like that. 🙂

  • Jamie August 20, 2010, 3:27 pm

    Good thing you packed, Philly airport has some crappy food selections if you ask me. Enjoy your time here! It’s a great city and going to be a beautiful weekend. Run Kelly Drive or West River drive! If you’re craving hills, run Valley Forge! I’ll probably be there on Saturday churning out the miles.

  • PhillyGirlRuns August 20, 2010, 3:28 pm

    yay for inspiring fortunes (and passing it on!), AND for a visit to Philly!

    I’m sure you have no shortage of offers but the bloggy community here is fun and friendly…if you need running buddies there are PLENTY of us right in the city! I have a 10k (not a race, just a run) on my schedule for the weekend 🙂

    • caitlin August 20, 2010, 4:03 pm

      I saw the Livstrong event! So awesome. I’m going to be rammed with friend stuff. Wish I had time for a meet up!

  • Erin August 20, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Very cool to have found that note! It’s a strange feeling moving away for a long time — I moved to Korea for a year and it was odd to say goodbye knowing I wouldn’t see friends and family for over a year. I can’t imagine doing 3 straight!

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous August 20, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Look at you being healthy at the airport! Love it! And no, I haven’t found an Operation Beautiful note….YET. Can’t wait! 😉

  • Neen @ Broad Bean to Runner Bean August 20, 2010, 3:42 pm

    how cute is that note! AND how appropriate for YOU to find it little miss Operation Beautiful! thats like Karma or something for sure!! a definate and beautiful case of “what goes around come around”! x

  • Tia August 20, 2010, 3:44 pm

    I found one in my doctors office, placed under the window ledge at the top, You had to be sitting in the chair with your head tilted back to see it and it really made my day : ) I totally agree, that’s so Karma that you found that : ) My nieces are OBSESSED with salted eedamame, guess it’s better than cookies!

  • Megan @ Healthy Hoggin August 20, 2010, 3:51 pm

    What a cute fortune to find! I love that. 😀

    The nicest thing a stranger has ever done, is paid for my coffee while they were in line ahead of me! It was such a sweet surprise!

    Hope you have a fun trip!!

    • Melissa Bowen August 20, 2010, 8:49 pm

      This happened to me one morning at a Starbucks drive-thru. As I pulled up the barista told me that someone several cars up had paid for the coffee for the person behind them and that every car since had paid for the person behind them. I of course joined in and still wonder for how many cars behind me it went on. That was 4 years ago and I still remember it with a smile.

      • SaraRM August 21, 2010, 9:38 am

        I have heard of a couple of stories like this and makes my heart melt everytime!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) August 20, 2010, 4:06 pm

    I found one in NYC on a subway advertisement. It made my day before I even knew what Operation Beautiful was. Then my Weight Watchers leader left on on the door to our center after I told her about your book. Now I see them everywhere and love to leave them too 😉

  • Andrea August 20, 2010, 4:09 pm

    No, I’ve never found an operation beautiful note, but I would squeal with delight if I did. Maybe that’s a sign that I need to leave one!

  • Callie August 20, 2010, 4:11 pm

    I’ve never found an operation beautiful note, sadly. Posting them around might inspire someone else to do the same.

    Have a fun trip and those edamame look so good! 🙂

  • Sarah August 20, 2010, 4:15 pm

    I found a whole mirror full of OB notes at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. I was working on my master’s at the school of Theology and was in RSPH’s building – it was fun to see such positive messages!


  • ashleigh August 20, 2010, 4:21 pm

    I can’t believe your friend is moving for 3 years! thats such a long time! I hope you all have fun!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 20, 2010, 4:23 pm

    I noticed that when I started putting them up in the bathrooms, they would be gone super quickly! I would love to find one that I haven’t written though.

  • Stacey @ The Habit of Healthy August 20, 2010, 4:48 pm

    Wow, how nice of someone to leave a note for a stranger to find. I’ve never found anything like that but I think it would make my day if I did.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) August 20, 2010, 4:56 pm

    I haven’t personally found one yet but I really want to! I also really want some of that Dakota bread- so sad that there’s no Great Harvest here in D.C.

  • Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat August 20, 2010, 5:04 pm

    I would love to find an OB note, but I haven’t yet! Though, now you have me craving Dakota Bread! I really do wish there were more healthy food options here in Minnesota, but as long as there is a Great Harvest available, I’m a happy girl!

  • Maren (Simply Maren) August 20, 2010, 6:17 pm

    When I was in high school I would pretty regularly stop at a local bagle shop for breakfast. One day the man inline before me actually bought me my bagle and orange juice. We hadn’t talked or every met before. It was the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me. I felt so good all day.

  • Sarah August 20, 2010, 6:52 pm

    This is 100% off topic (although I do love your airplane meal! Yum!) but I really think you should try to run the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston this year! You are so close, and it’s an amazing race…. Not to mention, you need to see Charleston! 🙂

    • caitlin August 20, 2010, 7:08 pm

      ooo i will check that out!

  • stacey August 20, 2010, 7:19 pm

    A couple of weeks ago, this woman pulled up beside me in her car and told me to roll down my window and then I did and she said “Congrats on your half-marathons! That’s awesome!!” (I have 13.1 sticker on the back) She must’ve been in her 60’s or 70’s ..and it really made my day 😀 It’s not often a stranger compliments you.

    That’s so cool you found that note!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 20, 2010, 7:48 pm

    I’ve never found a nice note like that but I love it when a stranger randomly smiles at me. It always brightens my day!

  • Lea @ Healthy Coconut August 20, 2010, 8:16 pm

    I haven’t really found a note from a stranger but I do like leaving thoughtful notes for friends and family. I love writing on cards, not just sign my name on it but actually take the time to write something personal and special.

  • Katie @ peacebeme August 20, 2010, 8:31 pm

    Someone did a very nice thing for me today – my basset hound had to have major abdominal surgery to remove a tumor and clear out a giant infected lymph node this week. He is doing okay, still kind of touch and go, but we got to bring him home tonight. The vet gave me $500 off my bill because I am unemployed. I could have hugged him!

  • eatmovelove August 20, 2010, 9:20 pm

    God this is so amazingly inspiring…what a testament to YOU for starting something like this on your own. Good fortune happens to those who BELIEVE and those who push forward despite the doubts.

    Caitlin, did you ever have any “negative” people or naysayers…those who said you should just be content with your former job, or were really jealous of you …or made you almost feel bad for wanting something else…I’m dealing with this now – and it’s really, really holding me back out of fear…I feel like I can’t just be myself…or try to figure out who that is…

    • Caitlin August 21, 2010, 11:04 am

      yes i did but don’t let people like that hold you back! they are trying to put you in a little box – break free!!!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie August 20, 2010, 9:48 pm

    Once my car broke down in the middle of an intersection and I had no idea what to do and a man stopped, helped me push the car to the side of the road, left and went to the car parts store and bought what I needed to get my car going as well as a whole bunch of stuff he thought “A girl like you might need in the car just in case” like a gas can, funnel, jack, etc. When he was done I asked him what I owed him and he said “what? no! I’m rich today. God bless you.”

    I was STUNNED to say the least and went to work crying because I felt so touched.

  • Jessica@tastyandtrim August 20, 2010, 10:18 pm

    This didn’t happen to me personally, but a friend of mine had her wallet stolen when we were in highschool while we were visiting another school for a basketball game. Luckily she didn’t have much cash in it but her driving permit was. Apparently whoever stole the wallet must have thrown out the permit. A week later she got an envelope in the mail that contained her permit with the message “from an angel” 🙂

  • Amber K August 21, 2010, 12:01 am

    I fly VERY rarely, but I wish I had known you could bring food with you when I went on my trip last month! Would have made the eating while traveling experience SOOO much easier!

    I have never found a note. But I do enjoy leaving them. =)

  • Wei-Wei August 21, 2010, 3:41 am

    So inspiring. I’m going to start leaving anonymous notes more often at school. 😀

  • Denny August 21, 2010, 8:45 am

    I worked on a cruise ship and we used to stand on the door of the show lounge, complimenting people as they went in. We’d say what a lovely dress someone had on, or what beautiful shoes, or mention something else – it was part of our job. One night a lady came walking in and I couldn’t think of what to say – nothing about her was standing out as attractive, indeed it was almost the opposite. I was wondering what I could say when I noticed she had a nice tan and so I said “Hey, what a fantastic suntan”, grateful that I’d found something to say. I didn’t think more of it until her husband came up to me at the interval and thanked me for what I’d said – “You made my wife feel like a million dollars”. Well that made me feel like three million dollars and I’ve never forgotten. I try to compliment people on a regular basis about some small detail of their appearance (even if it’s just the glasses they are wearing) because it generally makes them feel good. Which makes me feel good.

  • amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler August 21, 2010, 11:17 am

    You were able to bring the clementines in through security? I always wondered how they reacted to juicy fruits, you know, because of the liquid rule.

    Three years in Singapore! That’s amazing!

    • Caitlin August 21, 2010, 11:19 am

      yes! no issue.

  • kelly August 21, 2010, 9:11 pm

    I saw a note when I was sitting on the bus, it was on the seat in front of me, and it said something like “You’re Beautiful” and a website but I could’ve sworn it wasn’t Something with confidence in the title..

  • Sandy August 22, 2010, 11:09 am

    I was living in Irving, TX for work and was literally miserable every single morning being without my husband, family and friends. Every morning on the way to work I drove through the nearby Starbucks for a Venti Pike’s Place w/cream. One particular morning when I was feeling my most lonely the woman in the car in front of me paid for my coffee. She didn’t know me, didn’t know my situation, but her random act of kindness made all the difference that day.

    • Caitlin August 22, 2010, 11:43 am

      <3 love this comment

  • Sandy August 22, 2010, 11:11 am

    I was living just outside of Dallas, TX for work and was literally miserable every single morning being without my husband, family and friends. Every morning on the way to work I drove through the nearby Starbucks for a Venti Pike’s Place w/cream. One particular morning when I was feeling my most lonely the woman in the car in front of me paid for my coffee. She didn’t know me, didn’t know my situation, but her random act of kindness made all the difference that day.

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