Thursday, April 25, 2013

pay it forward.

when i was younger, i watched that movie. this idea really is extraordinary. for those who’ve never seen the movie, it’s about a kid {better known from the sixth sense that claims he “sees dead people”} that has a whore of a mother played by the beautiful helen hunt who gets a class assignment to somehow change the world - or something like that. it was a long time since i’ve seen this movie so sorry i don’t know all the intricate details.
anyway, he comes up with this idea that if one person does three random acts of kindness for three different people and then those three continue the trend for 3 more different people and the branches just keep building for this movement. he goes on to say how all of humanity can be changed and tada! the world is saved.
ok, i know  - it’s a movie. but really, stop and think about this. when is the last time you did something for someone for no reason at all?
i’d like to tell you a little short story.
it was a little over a year ago and i was on my lunch break for work. i had plans after work with a friend and needed to run to walmart for a few necessities around the house. back then, i only got an hour for lunch and the closest walmart was about a nice little fifteen to twenty minute drive, depending on traffic. i was flying down the road on my phone chatting away to my friend about our plans later and i rushed into walmart – grabbed some toothpaste, toilet paper, a new mascara tube, daily vitamins and a few other odds and ends before finally being sucked into the impulse aisle near the register and grabbing the cosmo magazine because somebody cool, like kate hudson, was on the cover and one of the headlines claimed 8 new ways to turn a guy on. well duh? who doesn’t want to know about that, i thought. so i decided to throw away five dollars on some bs article, that i later figured out, told me things that i already knew. i was in line continuously checking my iPhone so i was sure i had time to get a coffee before going back to work and still clock-in under an hour. tapping my foot on the floor and carrying everything in my arms, i turned around and noticed an elderly lady, probably around the age of 80, fumbling with her hands, squinting her small eyes and sighing heavily, trying to carry way too many groceries. i think old people are literally the cutest, so it was no surprise before the next thing i knew, my things we sitting nicely on the walmart floor and i took her items from her hands and placed them on the counter for her to be scanned by the cashier. i let her go in front me and picked up my things and continued to wait in line.
there was a man already checking out in front of both of us. he was tall; lean. and gray had just set in to his shorter dark hair as he glanced back at me and smiled a very small smile as he handed the cashier his payment, gathered his things, left the store and went about his day.  i figured he was just super friendly and the smile reminded me of the importance of being warm to strangers; people you don’t know anything about because you never know who needs it. the elderly lady did the same and as she turned to leave after thanking me one more time, i began to set my things on the counter to be rung up. my total was $30 dollars and some odd cents, so i dug into my wallet for my debit card and the cashier discounted the final bill down by $20.00, bringing my total to $10 dollars and some. huh? wait, what? i looked at her with confusion and asked why. she said the man that just left saw how you helped that older lady that just left so generously without even thinking. he insisted when it was your turn to pay, to use the $20.00 he just gave me, towards your bill. he didn’t say much else but just told me to tell you to “pay it forward.”
y’all like really? i was stunned. in all my 23 years of living, i had never had a moment impact me like that. he didn’t have to do that. he could’ve given me a high five & a whoohoo! good job; you’re cool! and made a bigger scene – but he didn’t. he could’ve not thought twice or not looked my way or seen me at all – but he didn’t. he did more than keep twenty bucks in my pocket that day. he was extending a random act of kindness to someone else who didn’t know his name or his story for no reason at all.
i walked back to my car; my mind closing in on his sweet smile knowing in a few short minutes, i would know what he did and would have no way of thanking him. his sweet smile hoping i would do the same for someone i didn’t know.
i stopped for coffee on the way back to work. the sun was shining. i got to the drive-thru window and checked my reflection in the rearview mirror. after fluffing my hair, my eyes caught the eyes of the person behind me in another car. it was a woman; probably mid 40s in a simple line waiting for coffee just like i was. my mind went back to just 30 minutes ago and i looked at the cashier inside the building and said this may be silly, but how much is the person’s total in the car behind me? i’d like to pay for their coffee. after the cashier realized i wasn’t crazy, he mumbled a $5.50 total and asked why? i handed him my debit card and said when she pulls to the window, tell her it’s taken care of & happy tuesday from me - and to pay it forward.
so, try it, will you? it can be life changing. there are still beautiful people in this world, like yourself, who have hearts of gold. show that off because that's the true definition of beauty. plus, you are guaranteed a smile knowing that a simple act of kindness, to someone who won’t be able to say thank you, can make their entire day. and then someone else's day. and then someone else's.
for absolutely no reason at all.
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