The London Wasps prop played the full 80 minutes for the Lions in Cape Town, just a day after answering an SoS call for the injured Andrew Sheridan.
But despite the 13-13 draw at Newlands, Payne hailed wearing the Lions jersey for the first time as a special moment in his career.
"I was pretty happy and I can't think of anything better than playing for the Lions. I've thought of this moment ever since I was a little boy having a kick-about on the playing fields down at my local rugby club, Painswick RFC," said Payne.
"It's a great feeling and I'm really happy to have been able to play for the Lions. It's happy days."
Payne was summoned following the Lions first Test defeat to South Africa after fellow Englishman Sheridan hurt his back in Durban. But the six-cap England star admits he did not expect to be thrown straight into the action immediately.
"I arrived at 10 o'clock on Monday morning and was taken straight to the training paddock for the team run within half an hour. Geech mentioned that Andrew Sheridan's back was sore but I didn't have a clue that I would be starting," added Payne.
"I really enjoyed the game and I thought the scrums went well. I was blowing towards the end but that was to be expected at this level - I loved every minute of it."