I don’t know when I got the idea of “paying it forward”. Perhaps it was when I saw the movie with the same name (which, interestingly enough, seems to be based on a book), or perhaps someone attempted (more on that later) to do something like that for me. But I’m obsessed with it at this point, I think partly because it’s never been done for me (dang! I can’t say that anymore…I just got a nice gift card from Lisa for no reason at all).
I think it’s especially nice to do something for someone you don’t know at all. Like paying for the person behind you’s bridge toll (my Dad turned me on to that…perhaps he started me thinking about this oh so long ago??), or paying for the next person’s coffee, or just doing something nice for someone, not because it’s their birthday or Christmas, but just because. I especially like doing things anonymously if at all possible. I want the person to wonder who did this for them, because you start looking at everyone in a different light, and treating them kinder in return.
However, there’s the small things you can do for someone, and then there’s the big things. I often think that if I could just get a break in life, life would be so much easier. Yes, I’m doing fine in life, and it does make me proud to know that I’ve worked (and when I say worked, I mean worked) for everything that I have. But I have to admit that I wouldn’t complain if some of the stuff had been given to me. 🙂 For example, I know this girl who hasn’t worked more than two days a row in her lifetime, and her dad gave her over $100,000 as a down payment on a house. How nice would that be?! And what’s wrong with a little jealousy? 🙂
Anyway, with this whole pay it forward thing in mind, I stumbled on this (see the third paragraph). Unfortunately, the link taking you to the actual story doesn’t work…but I’m so curious as to what happened! While I might be jealous, I still love to hear about people doing nice things for other people.
Of course, Christmas often gets me thinking about paying it forward. In 2006, a friend and I got a couple of the “Dear Santa” letters from the Post Office. If you don’t know, USPS sets aside the Dear Santa letters, and people can come, pick a letter, and decide to send something to that child. What touched my friend and I the most was letters asking for something, not for themselves, but for someone else. I would have done this again in 2007, but I ended up giving a gift and filled stocking to someone who works at the Post Office. Incidentally, the girl never called me to spend Christmas with my fiance and me. I wasn’t surprised (I probably would have done the same thing), but I was disappointed.
About the time that I was working on my “Secret Santa”, I stumbled upon this post. It’s so wonderful to know there are other people out there who are thinking about nice things to do as well! How awesome is that? And then, of course, there’s me being the recipient of this!
Unfortunately, a long time ago I turned away someone’s act of generosity to me which in turn hurt their feelings. I didn’t mean to hurt their feelings, but knowing who was doing this for me made me feel obligated to them, which I didn’t want at the time. I think I can blame this on being immature…I was only 22 at the time.
The point of this post? Heck, I don’t know. But I felt a compelling need to document all of these nice things people are doing for each other. It makes me feel better when that stupid lady talking on her cell phone cuts me off on the freeway.
If you have any stories about paying it forward, I’d love to hear them!