Paying It Forward.
That best portion of a good man's life; His little, nameless,
unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
There really is no small act of kindness. As even the smallest act can have a profound impact on the life of another. A few weeks ago I was in a convenience store. It was a busy Saturday and there were a ton of customers. Each in a hurry to get to their weekend festivities. One lone sales clerk ran the register. As the line grew longer and longer you could see her stress level growing. She wasn't deaf to the grumblings of the people as they waited. One guy needed ice, which was locked up outside. When I walked in he was outside waiting for her to come out and unlock the bin. He followed me as I walked inside the store. I glanced back at him when I heard him bark at the girl that he had been waiting 4 minutes and he wanted his ice. He yelled at her, "Now Dammit!" and stormed back out. I grabbed my coffee and went and stood in line. At this point there was on 3 people in front of me. When it became my turn I looked at her and gave a small smile. I told this poor kid that I was in no hurry and I would wait for her to go take care of the guy with the ice. The guy behind me grumbled and I fix him with a glare. She smiled gratefully and ran outside. When she came back, she had tears in her eyes. She said I had no idea what gift I had just given her. She wanted to hug me. Really, all I did was wait an extra 2 minutes. That small gesture meant the world to her. Out the door I went. When I stopped in yesterday I was greeted by a giant smile. Same clerk. She whispered to her co-worker as I walked by; "that is the lady I told you about." That small act cost me nothing.
I remember once a few years back my kid and I were walking into the supermarket. There was this adorable little old lady loading her bags into her trunk. She was just putting the last bag in and her carriage was empty. My kid walked over to her, smiled took the carriage from her and said, "I'll return it. Have a nice day." This little old lady looked at him and awarded him with the biggest smile. She looked at me and winked. That small completely random act of returning her carriage for her, made her day. I was so proud of my kid. When I told him that, he just looked at me, shrugged and asked if we could get Cheerios for cereal.
There are opportunities everywhere to touch someone's life. Everyday they are there. It's just so easy to get caught up in the craziness of life, that we miss the chances.
When I created the Random Thoughts page on Facebook I had no idea what would come of it. I've had the pleasure over the past 6 months, to network with some other pages and their creators and was invited into a group for inspirational page owners. A forum to discuss our work, our ideas, issues that arise and our pages. In this group are people from all over the world. Every day they dedicate their time and energy into putting positive, uplifting messages into the world. For no other reason than because they can. They want to make people think, feel inspired and laugh. One woman in particular, has touched my heart. Her name is Carmen and she is the creator behind the facebook page called "Paying It Forward ~ One Day at a Time". Her whole goal is to inspire people to reach out in kindness to someone and for that someone to pay it forward to another. In a world filled with strife. Where the evening news is all about loss, devastation, wars and all the bad. This woman wants to trump all that, by spreading kindness.
Simple really when you think about it.
Carmen even created this little bright green bracelets that say "Paying It Forward ~ One Day at a Time" on it. The magic behind these bracelets is awesome. While sitting in my truck the other day waiting to get my coffee I had an idea. When it was my turn at the window, I told the guy I wanted to pay for the woman behind me as well. I gave him one of the green bracelets and asked that he give it to her with her coffee and tell her I said "Happy Thursday". Off I went about my day. Quite frankly, it made me feel good to do it. I love the little secret acts that one can do everyday. Especially when the receiver has no idea who you are or where you come from. Sometimes when my family and I go out to dinner, we will pick someone that is dining alone. We ask our server to put their dinner on our bill, but not to say anything to them. We giggle at our mischievousness. We pay the bill and scurry out of the restaurant. We could be having the worst day ever, but in that small random act it turns our whole day around.
Practice random acts of kindness. Open the door for a stranger. Help someone with their groceries. Kindness costs nothing but is priceless. Strangers, friends and family. Start small. One random- off the cuff act a day. Go get some of your own Paying It Forward bracelets and give them out. Leave them with your tip at dinner for the stressed out server with a note telling them Thanks. Tape a dollar to a vending machine with a note that says, "Next One on Me. Pay it Forward."
Keep your eyes open. There will be a chance every day to; Pay It Forward.
8/25/2012 03:17:16 pm
I love your blogs and have read several of them, I like to do random acts of kindness and pay it forward as much as I can. When I'm having a bad day and really having to struggle with things, I smile at all that I meet, I have paid for meals for strangers as you do when I have the money, I get so much satisfaction out of it. I thank you for your blogs and I love your page. Love you Jenn, thanks for everything.
8/26/2012 01:07:11 am
This is great...you and Carmen are both so awesome!!!
Midge Van Etten
8/26/2012 01:29:31 am
I look forward to Pay it Forward's posts very day on Facebook, and share them copiously. When I was a child I was taught how sweet life can be when we practice random kindness. That was before it had that name, but was just part of daily life. When choosing a profession I chose nursing and worked with people who have developmental challenges and mental illness for the 30 years. It has brought me great joy to be able to make my love for my brothers and sisters visible in my work. Recently I became disabled, not permanently, but I will be off work for at least a year, in the best of outcomes. I will lose my job, and not be able to return to that kind of work, and have to find a "desk job" instead. Right now I am preparing for surgery that will occur sometime in September. What has been difficult for me is accepting help from others. I have always been the strong one, the one who would carry on and lead others through hard times, who knew what to do, how to help silently and discreetly. Now, I find myself having to accept help from others graciously and without guilt or shame. It was hard for me, until I remembered the great feeling I have when I can help, and don't want the people who love me to miss that feeling. I will pay it forward in anyway I can, and the opportunities are endless. I love your post and look forward to reading your blog in future. Thanks for helping to make the world a better place.
8/29/2012 02:29:19 pm
I love this post! Awesome.
8/29/2012 02:46:48 pm
Thank you Celia :)
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