To me, paying it forward or participating in a random act of kindness is doing something, either big or small, for another person without their knowledge of who performed the good deed. Any random act of kindness can cause a positive ripple effect restoring our faith in the love and compassion of the human spirit. I love the following quote; “Kindness like a boomerang, always returns” Author Unknown.
I have been the recipient of many of these good deeds including several free cups of coffee at my local coffee shop and once I received a beautiful tree. I cannot express how special these gifts made me feel. Someone told me just yesterday that she found (4) crisp $20 dollar bills in the bottom of one of her grocery sacks when she returned from shopping. She said it made her day and was already thinking of how she can “pay it forward”. Recently two ladies that work in my building bought a coat so a homeless gentleman who lives on our parking lot so he would be warmer this winter. Following are other ideas for paying it forward or doing a random act of kindness:
- Pay for a soldier’s meal
- Tell a soldier you appreciate their service to our country
- Give blood so someone else can live
- Smile or talk to someone who seems sad
- Hold the door for someone
- Allow someone to move in front of you in traffic
- Tip someone
- Pay for an extra ticket to an event
- Volunteer at a local mission or shelter
- Help a senior citizen
A little history: the term “pay it forward” may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book, In the Garden of Delight. An anonymous spokesman for Alcoholics Anonymous said in the Christian Science Monitor in 1944, “You can’t pay anyone back for what has happened to you, so you try to find someone you can pay forward.” Also in 1944, the first steps were taken in the development of what became Heifer Project, one of whose core strategies is “Passing on the Gift”.
I challenge each of us to remember to “Pay It Forward” or perform a “Random Act of Kindness” often during this holiday season and into the New Year and cause a ripple effect for others to follow. I know it is hard because we get so overwhelmed and involved with the “drama” of our own lives that we forget to reach out to others. I am a firm believer that we can never “give” more than we receive” so join me as we make a difference in the lives of others.
I would love to hear from you of how you paid it forward or how you performed a random act of kindness. My prayer for each of you is to have a beautiful holiday season and a New Year filled with much love and laughter.