Pay It Forward, Random Act of Kindness – Whatever You Call It, Let’s Do IT!

(We’re taking a last minute hurrah before our summer ends. Yes, our children go back to school on August 10th! I will be without a computer for 5 whole days. For the next few posts, I’ll share with you some of my favorites. The post below is a great reminder and was originally posted on December 18. I will miss you all! See you when I get back!)

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the Philly couple that bought a stranger’s meal at a diner and for 5 hours customers continued to pay it forward. It reminded me that I hadn’t bought someone’s coffee in a while now.

About once every two months or so (I wish it were more often but quite honestly I don’t always think of it) I pay for the order of the person behind me in the drive-through or pay the toll for the car behind me when we go to “the big city” (as my daughter likes to call it.) Suddenly, this morning I remembered that it had been awhile so when I got my coffee this morning I paid for the car behind me, as well. Her bill was only $3.18. Hmmmm, I gave the cashier a $20. I looked in my rear view mirror and there were no more cars to pay for. So, $3.18 for my good deed of the day felt a little lack luster. I suppose I was expecting a little more grand gesture – not that I’m made of money, mind you, but I’m a few months behind in my good deeds. I was atoning for my neglect.

When I make these gestures I rarely look back to see the reaction. I hope to make a quick get-away, quite frankly. But this time? No such luck. I was stopped by two traffic lights in a row and she caught up with me by the second light. She rolled down her window. She searched my face for some recognition. She found none. “Thank you for this,” she said, “You don’t know what this means to me. I’m on my way to an interview. I lost my job a month ago and I HAVE to find work. I’d given these up,” and she raised her cup, “but I decided to splurge today for a little boost of confidence. Your kindness has done so much more.”

I could see that her eyes were brimming and she was fighting back tears. I was stunned into silence. I never said a word to her, just listened. The light turned green and she smiled and drove away. $3.18. Here I was feeling guilty I had only payed it forward with 3 dollars and 18 cents. But that $3.18 provided a much-needed boost for a woman in a desperate situation – looking for work just before Christmas. It meant more to her than I ever imagined it would.

So this weekend I want you to do me a favor. Pay it forward with someone else. Whatever you can afford. If it’s a meal, a cup of coffee, a bus token…for a stranger. Someone you never expect to see again. Then come back here to this post and comment about what you’ve done. Or post about it on your blog- but be sure to come back here to link to it so we can all read about what you’ve done.

Random acts of kindness spread joy like wildfire. I think they have more power than negativity. Together we can make the world a little happier this weekend with our small gestures. (Borrowing from Bender in The Breakfast Club) If he does it, then we’ll all do it and it’ll be anarchy! Let’s start our own little version of anarchy! Are you with me?

 

Don’t forget! Write your post about blogging to help me celebrate my one year in Blog World. We’ll all meet back here in 7 days (August 13) to link, learn and maybe have a few laughs!

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220 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, Be-Causes, People, RAOK

220 responses to “Pay It Forward, Random Act of Kindness – Whatever You Call It, Let’s Do IT!

  1. Several months ago I ran a $1.00 makes a difference campaign for a family I did not know but who’s loss I could relate to. We raised a little over $500.oo–with $1.00 contributions. The only thing I did was keep suggest, and update.
    It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to make someones day just a little brighter and the return is ten-fold.
    Thanks for the reminder. I am a little overdue myself!

  2. What a great post – and a great idea. I’m going to take you up on that too, sometime this weekend, and pay it forward! Enjoy your 5 free computer days!

  3. First off, wonderful post. I love the idea of paying it forward. I think that it’s just great that the universe saw fit to show you that your 3.18 was really more than you thought it was. Money, intrinsically, has no value. Only the value with which we ascribe (or agree to). If we’re talking value, that act of kindness you showed to the stranger behind you probably would have been worth upwards of $50 to her. And…

    Second, I’d like to think that what I do at “Imagine Into Being,” IS paying it forward. Not to be shamelessly plugging myself here on your blog, but everyday, I write a “Daily Imagining,” wherein I am intending to create (or give more credence to) possibilities where humans interact with nature in a more positive manner. You know, the whole “thoughts become things” adage. 🙂

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  4. What noble thoughts….& soon the world will be a better place to live in!!!
    You rock!!

  5. That’s such a nice story, Jane, and, a great idea! We’ve paid highway tolls for the drivers behind us before, but I think it’s time to get more creative…hope you’re enjoying your vacation~

  6. whitesays

    I stumbled upon this post and I must say, it reopened my mind to draw out something which had been tucked away. Since the movie, Pay It Forward; which i found to be heartfelt with a stroke of wake up call, many a times, we are too caught up in our own world of craziness (aka work!) to actually think about spreading intentional kindness to others, muchless strangers. This is definitely a jolt down memory lane to put things into perspective, especially for busy individuals who neglect those around them and forget about the rest of the world whilst being too buried in “themselves” 🙂
    Thanks for spreading the kindness around, to make the world a cosier place to live in 🙂

  7. What a wonderful post! This reminds me of my favorite movie Amelie- in which the title character decides to secretly help people she knows and strangers alike. My favorite part is when she takes the arm of a blind man and walks with him describing everything she sees, his face afterward always brings tears to my eyes. This post has definitely inspired me to do in kind. Thanks!

  8. I absolutely LUV this post and wish more people would catch on!! I will take you up on the idea and plan to pay it forward.

  9. Thank WP for posting this on their dashboard. This is really inspiring. A few weeks ago, I was having a really shitty day and I didn’t want to whine and slip into a “i hate this world” coma so I took a tissue paper (I was in a coffee shop) and I listed the top 10 things I am thankful for. Then I walked up to a harassed looking businessman who was yelling at his phone for the past 20,30 minutes. I said “Hi” and I read my list to him. He hung up, took another tissue and wrote his list on it, walked up to the stressed out waiter and read it to him. The waiter smiled and did the same activity. And it went on, I had to leave so I did.

    When I walking for food later that evening a homeless person walked up to me and told me that he didn’t know to write but wanted to share his list with me. On that list was my “smile” which apparently I never forgot to share with him. I didn’t ever register this but man, I was floored.

    Apparently some person from the coffee shop spread was reading it out loud to his dad (who’s dead) by looking at the sky and he heard it and wanted to make his own list.

    For giving me the opportunity to live this moment again, thank you! 🙂

  10. Raul

    Great post!! You have truly inspired me. I am determined to pay it forward this weekend. I have always thought about doing what you did…now is the time to follow through. Thank you for a great read and inspiring story!!

    http://www.wutevs.wordpress.com

  11. Jane,
    What a beautiful post! It made me cry. This morning I heard a song on the radio about asking God how we can bless someone. You have really inspired me! I will take your precious words and put them into action right away! God bless you.

  12. Lindsay

    BEAUTIFUL story. I do stuff like this a lot, too. Random strangers have done it for me, too, and I know how good it feels. It honestly feels better to be the giver. And we never know what situation the person is who is going to be receiving…

    Keep it up. The world needs more random acts of kindness.

    http://thedailyawe.com/2010/07/30/thank-you-stranger/

    – Lindsay

  13. What a sweet story, Jane! Years ago, someone paid for my coffee in a drive-thru and I was shocked. I was just wishing I would have paid attention to who was in front of me. It was such a nice gesture and I always wondered who did that and why. I think it’s about time for me to Pay it Forward, too. Thanks for the re-post and I hope you’re having a wonderful time with your family!

  14. What a wonderful, generous idea. I’m glad you got such a solid reaction from your beneficiary, and I hope that boost of confidence turned her luck around.

    I’m attempting to do 36 things this year I’ve never done before (that’s what my blog’s about, actually). I think “buying dinner for a family I don’t know” should be added to that list.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and have a lovely, well deserved vacation. 🙂

  15. Wonderful, inspiring post. If we all did this, we could change the world.

  16. Your post came up when I logged onto wordpress today and I was very intrigued! My blog is based on me doing a good deed a day and then blogging about it in order to inspire others (I have a book that lists many deeds). One of my first deeds was to pay for the person behind me in line; I paid for the man behind me at Starbucks. I really enjoyed it, although the worker seemed confused when I was explaining that I wanted to pay for it! Great post!! 🙂

  17. You are an inspiration to me today! I’m out of a job right now, but, commit to implementing a “pay it forward” plan as soon as I am employed again! Great post and thank you for contributing the good of the human race!

  18. Monica

    I cry with your post !!!
    last night i couldnt sleep because Ifelt I havnt donde much good this days, a year ago i just came back from a year full of charity as I was living with nuns, i miss so much thta experince because is greater to give than to receive!!

  19. Monica

    sorry my point was… ajja i dont have to be a year with nuns! with random , maybe small acts of kindness is good!! and you can make a big change

  20. I live in a small city and I go to the local pharmacy and donate $20.00 for the pharmacist to pay for a prescription for elderly people who can’t afford medicine. It feels so great. They always want to know my name but I never leave my name because I don’t want people to feel obligated to thank me.

  21. I remember this post! Loved it.
    Yesterday at work someone wanted the first “Girl with the Dragon tattoo” book. Of course we have a wait list, which she didn’t want to be on since she was just here on vacatiion and tried us on a whim. I’ve had a water damaged copy in my work mailbox for weeks, wanting to give it to someone. I didn’t read it, didn’t appeal to me. This woman had such a kind face and she was so happy when I gave her my copy. She wanted to do something for me and I told her just give it away when you’re done. I ended up feeling so good, all over some tiny little thing.

  22. I LOVE stories like this one… Absolutely beautiful… It’s amazing how much of an impact one person’s kindness can have on another person’s life.
    A few kind words can help a person realize that their life is important, too. I’ve had some really bad days, and the smallest thing has made it all the more brighter.
    It’s good to see that there are some people out there that do good things just for the sake of making a person smile. 🙂 Beautiful…

  23. I think it’s lovely that you think of others in this way. I think it’s perfectly perfect for the instance you shared. 🙂

  24. Thanks for sharing your story, Jane. RAOK should be done everyday, not just on a particular time. It’s amazing the positive difference you make by randomly being kind. I remember a teacher back in elementary school who wasn’t popular with her students and one day I knew she was having a hard time trying to cope with each day. I decided to buy her a bag of shells (since I remembered her telling the class that’s what she likes) and wrapped it nice and placed a card in it. At the end of class, I presented it to her and she beamed with a big smile. I’d never seen her face light up until that day. We embraced and she said how thankful she was to get this and that someone cared. I never knew what was going on in her mind, but I knew sometimes “people might not remember what you did, or even what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.” (author unknown). A little kindness truly goes a long way.

  25. Beautiful post 🙂 Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.

    Glad you made that girl’s day

  26. If I were you, I’d avoid aligning yourself with crappy movies by naming your posts after them. 🙂

    That being said, a little kindness never hurt anyone.

  27. Nice story. When love and money come together, a small amount can often pack a powerful and delightful punch!

    http://www.poppyspage.wordpress.com

  28. Never shared this one. But since you asked…

    One afternoon at the market an elderly gentleman was purchasing his groceries and came up $10 short. Embarrassed, he began removing things so he could afford the necessities. I quickly grabbed a $10 from my wallet and told the checker to bag it all while handing the cashier the money (both all of 18yo). The two teenage boys were stunned and the gentleman was apologetic but thankful.

    I hope someday those two boys will remember how powerful random acts of kindness can be.

    Congrats on being featured.

  29. I love this! I joined a society called Join Me! at uni and we did RAOKs for people too, it really is so rewarding! Not thought of the pay-it-forward thing – will have to try that sometime! 🙂

  30. It’s so funny that I would read this today because yesterday, I was picking up a sandwich at Subway and there was a man in front of me whose debit card was declined. He stepped aside as he and the counter person went back and forth about it. When it was time for me to pay, I said I would pay for his too. The cashier said, “are you sure?” and I said “yes.” I wasn’t sure how much his sandwich cost but I could think of nothing worse than being on your lunch hour from work and having to return hungry. The cashier told him that I had paid, he said a very curt, “Thanks” and left. We parked next to each other but he never said another word to me. That surprised me a little but I reminded myself that I didn’t pay for his sandwich for thanks or praise, I did it just to do it. So… off we went our separate ways. I like your post because it’s a great idea — random acts of kindness for no reason at all, whether the other person has money or not. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Well, I’m in tears. Thanks for sharing your love and stories on your blog.

  32. Check out http://www.arkhq.com

    also http://www.facebook.com/arkhq

    It is an Irish clothing label based around the idea of encouraging people to perform random acts of kindness.

  33. Kindra Pring

    The littlest things can make the biggest differences. Especially now, when times are rough, I think RaKs are one of the most important things people need to practice. I think I should practice them more. I unfortunately don’t have any money to offer. I’ll have to find something to volunteer to do won’t I?

  34. Loved the post! Last week, while traveling, we stopped at a Denny’s restaurant. Our waitress was such a sweet and attentive lady. My husband and I both made comments about how wonderful the service was. A few men who appeared to be regular customers came in the door and asked to be seated in her area. I overheard them asking about how she was doing. She mentioned she was tired and when asked why, she told them that it took over an hour to walk to work. I thought, “Wow, she’s this friendly after walking an hour to work?” The hard luck story continued. She wasn’t complaining or moaning about her misfortune. At one point, when one of the men said he was sorry to hear how tough things were for her, she just smiled and said, “Oh there are folks out there worse off than me!” I found myself thinking that even one of the trials this woman faced on a daily basis would be enough to wipe a smile off anyone’s face. Yet here she was, probably one of the best waitresses I’ve ever encountered. After finishing breakfast, I pulled a $20 bill out of my wallet. It would have been enough to pay the bill and leave slightly more than the standard 15-20% tip. Somehow, that just didn’t seem right. I left my $20 bill on the table and paid with plastic at the register.

  35. Wonderful idea. No idea how I’ll implement this weekend yet, but I’ll think of something. Thanks for the inspiration!

  36. I always thought you were freshly pressed! 🙂

    And I frequently try to find ways to pay it forward in my own inimitable way. I’ve never paid for the car behind me, though. How do you do that anyway? Do you have to pull over and wait or what?

  37. What a great thing you did. I’m inspired. Not sure what I’ll do, but I’m doing something, you have my word. Thanks.

  38. Saw your blog on the front page of WordPress–and just wanted to drop you a note to let you know this entry made me tear up! Its not often you find people who do things just out of the goodness of their hearts and expect nothing in return–but your blog reaffirmed there ARE people like this and to keep on keepin’ on!

  39. Aloha Jane,
    Thanks so much for sharing that story. You are an inspiration and also, confirmation that I needed to continue what I’m doing on my end. I had my own weekly column in Honolulu’s largest newspaper that closed its doors this past June. I had an emptiness because I wanted to continue to write – especially about the goodwill in our communities. So I started this blog. Some are telling me, “why, you’re not getting paid, you need to get paid.” But my gut tells me, just write and God will provide. Thanks for doing what you’re doing and confirming that paying it forward is the way to go. Please check out my blog when you have a moment.
    Mahalo – Amanda

  40. Beautiful, simply beautiful!

    Last night we used a coupon at Dairy Queen to get two boxes of ice cream sandwiches for the price of one. We then proceeded to drive to the houses of several of our friends and neighbours and our girls delivered them ice cream saying, ”We wanted to share our ice cream with you, because we love you.” It was such a blast.

    I also leave a quarter in my shopping cart every time I shop so someone gets a free one. I’ve never thought to pay for the person behind me at the drive-thru before though – I am so doing that!

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful story with us – so inspiring!

  41. jdschaefer

    Thanks for posting your positive message. Paying it forward is much more than simply putting cash down and moving on: It’s an emotional connection. If you’re interested in giving yourself–or even your friends– a bost of confidence, please check out http://ineedapeptalk.wordpress.com/ and select the area where you could use some help on the menu at the right. Keep up the great work!

  42. I love the post! I’ve been meaning to get a Pay It Forward initiative going for some time and am so happy to see that others are doing it too! I am most definitely going to pay it forward this weekend, and post an entry on my blog asking others to pay it forward as well!

  43. Good for you. Ever since I saw the movie I have tried to practice this with children. When I see their eyes light up it makes my day. I had it happen to me once in Florida on my birthday, a friend and I were having and when we went to pay we were told that the couple who had been sitting next to us paid. No doubt they say my friend toast me with a birthday wish. Keep up the good work and I will pass this on http://www.bcadayatatime.com

  44. Deb

    I enjoyed this so much that I posted the link on my Facebook page. Hope you don’t mind, but you’ll probably also get a little traffic from my wonderful group of friends. My niece works at a Starbucks. One day this past spring someone paid for the car behind, and it started a chain reaction that went on for two-and-a-half hours (much like the restaurant event in Philadephia. Kindness does indeed breed kindness, and reading your blog has made me determined to find a way to do just what you said — pass it on this weekend in whatever way presents itself to me. Thanks.

  45. I used to work at a coffee shop and every now and again someone would pay for the coffee of those behind them (to answer shoutabyss’ question – the person at the window should already know the total of the bill of car behind you…) and what a grateful, but befuddled looks we would get.

    It is a wonderful way to “pay it forward”, but one I have forgotten to use. Thank you for reminding me to use it and to start flexing this muscle more…

    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  46. I am ashamed to admit I have never in my life thought to do this for someone, but what a wonderful thing to do. Such things can brighten someone’s day and your story here shows just how much that can be true. I wonder if she got the job – I hope so, but I am sure your kind gesture carried her in there feeling much happier and more confident than she would otherwise have been. So yes, I am going to try doing this too. Only issue I see is if it catches on I pity the folks in Starbucks trying to keep up with it all 🙂

  47. unabridgedgirl

    Have a good time, and thanks for the re-post!

  48. A long time ago I was forever touched by acts of kindness and I’ve always sworn to myself to pay it forward. You’ve reminded me of that, Thank you.

  49. Heya, I randomly stumbled upon your blog. I think it’s wonderful you spread these random acts of kindness. You’ve inspired me to try it out this weekend!

  50. What a wonderful article. Things always seem to go better when you focus on others rather than yourself. My husband once gave the shoes off of his feet to a kid on the street who needed them. Kindness can get you so far.

  51. Thanks for reminding us about the importance of kindness.

  52. foreverquotes

    My english teacher had everyone in the class do a “Pay it Forward” act for someone and write about it. Even though not everyone took it seriously, it was a great assignment and gave us all a chance to really think about little deeds that can make someone’s day!

  53. I’m inspired! I am going to seek out an opportunity to pay it forward this weekend. I doubt it will take very long before something comes up. I know there are so many ways we can help others (without much effort/money on our part) if only we look for them.

  54. I actually paid for the person behind me in the drive-thru this morning!I do wonder what the result was. For me it just made me feel good.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  55. That is so sweet, the woman’s reaction to your kindness and the fact that you think of initiating these little surprises that go a long way!

    This week, I gathered with like-minded individuals and we gave sandwiches to people living on the streets. I met some nice people and it was a great experience.

    I had started a blog like that (http://everydayacts.wordpress.com/) and thought I’d ‘run low’ on material. Stuff like what you posted here is great and makes the world go round.

  56. I think I shall take up random acts of kindness. I just posted a story about one of my attempts at altruism that went surreally wrong.

    Great post!

  57. Such a small act can do so much! Thank you for this!

  58. Ohh, I love doing things like that. Every time I see someone in need I try to help them in anyway that I can; whether it’s giving them spare change, food, water, a hug, or someone to talk too. It’s been a habit of mine for years and years, and one I don’t intend to give up any time soon.

  59. I like your post! Keep paying it Forward!

  60. Great Post It’s rare to see random acts of kindness in today’s world!

  61. I LIKE YOU!!! That is just so nice, I wish more people were like you! I actually got tears in my eyes thinking of you and being upset that there weren’t more people in line to pay for! How sweet. Then I read one of your reply people saying they were handing out icecream sandwiches to neighbors and the kids said because WE LOVE YOU, thats what its ALL about! Thank God there still are people like you all!

    Thanks you made my day!!

    evelyngarone.com

  62. The idea of paying for someones meal (or similar) has never occured to me—a very interesting idea.

    At the same time we should bear in mind that a good deed need not involve money: The more important thing is to hit the “right spot”, as can be seen from your $3.18, which did more good than a $30 Christmas dinner to someone who might earn $10K a month. Keeping an eye out for the right occasion, e.g. an old lady needing a seat, could be a better way than a random good deed.

    Similarly, it can pay to not start any negative chain reactions (e.g. by insulting a fellow car driver), and to deliberately let those negative chains that reach us end with us (e.g. when we are insulted by a fellow car driver).

  63. My church is beginning an “Everyone in Ministry” series, with the idea that your whole life should be ministry, not just Wednesdays and Sundays. How do I go about borrowing your story for my blog (I just started this blogging business) and also for our church newsletter?

  64. I was about to pump the gas when an older crippled gentleman asked, “Can you help me buy a coffee?”

    Although I hesitated, I still went into my car, pulled a $5 and handed it to him.

    He offered to pump my gas for me, but I kindly declined.

  65. I have done this once before – exactly the same way – paying for the coffee of the person at Starbucks behind me in the drive-thru. I just paid and drove away – happy with myself and wondering if they smiled when they found out. Unfortunately, they tried to catch up to me after they got through the drive thru and were hit by another car. It didn’t turn out how I had hoped – it wasn’t a bad accident but was a fender bender. We are now friends and stay in touch regularly – but if you pay it forward at the drive-thru, stop and give them a wave before you drive off.

  66. Thank you for the inspiring blog.
    I have paid for the vehicle behind me in the drive-thru line up before but I don’t do it nearly enough.
    Thanks for the nudge!

  67. Thanks for sharing. It’s great to hear of these stories every now and then and to request for that call to action.

    Speaking of random acts of kindness, the person working the drive-thru at Weinersnitchel complimented me on my teeth of all things! At first I thought she said, “You have something on your teeth.” I did a quick check in the rear-view mirror and then said, “Wait, what?” She replied, “You have really great teeth.”

    And I still can’t stop smiling:)

  68. This was a lovely and touching post. I believe what goes around comes around, and if we give freely when we can, we will receive when it’s our turn.

  69. Pingback: What a Difference Kindness Makes « Like a Whisper

  70. Teresa Banks

    This is a lovely story, and I thank you for sharing it. But I want to say: I think the paying-it-forward practice is frivolous and somewhat self-deluding. As a rule, when you pay-it-forward, you’re paying for an item the recipient can afford on his or her own, otherwise he/she wouldn’t be in the position to receive it in the first place. Your story shows this is a greyish kind of rule, but ultimately, the person who truly can’t afford that coffee won’t be in that drive-thru lineup at all. What about the homeless and poverty-stricken? If you have an extra $20 to spare, ask yourself who could use it more: a person who can pay their own way, or a person who maybe hasn’t eaten in days? If you don’t want to hand out cash to beggars (I know, there are good arguments not to) consider donating to a food bank. Of course, for most of us, helping those who actually need our help means going out of our way to do it…

  71. Pingback: Time for a Gibb-Slap « Feathers & Fangs

  72. Although Random Acts of Kindness represents a noble idea, it doesn’t have to be expressed only in dollars and cents. Try to do a number of kind things every day: offer someone to get the groceries to her car, give a warm smile to someone who looks worried, tell a stranger how much you like the color of her hair or her coat or whatever (assuming, of course, that you indeed like it. phone flattery is pointless!). If we all become both the giver and the receiver of a number of random, kind acts it’s bound to become a more sensitive and kinder world. Probably more fun, too.

    wordsfromawoman.wordpress.com

  73. I’m SO with you. I often go to the Dunkin Donuts drive thru and will definitely pay for the car behind me next time. I’ll also give the cashier one of my “only kindness matters” static window decals to give to the person along with their coffee. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve heard about this before but, yes, I forgot. I’ll post this idea on my blog too. Good work!

  74. Jane, I think this is so important, and such a good reminder for each of us how simple this principle is. Helping each other, one person at a time.

    And congrats on being freshly pressed!!

  75. Anyone who picks up coffee at a drive-through has a car, which means they presumably have the means to afford coffee. What if you take the money you spend on coffee (for you and for others) and, instead of giving it to a giant profit-motivated corporation, contribute to those who can’t afford cars, coffee, food, clothing, or housing.

    I may be the only person who isn’t moved by the charity of middle-class luxury goods, but I can’t help thinking of how much Meals on Wheels or the American Cancer Society or a homeless shelter, etc., could do with as little as $3.18 a day. I know, you can buy someone’s coffee AND give to actual charities, but that’s hardly the point.

    • stewartry

      I admit to a similar thought lurking in the back of my mind – so thank you for saying this, because it made me realize why the thought should stay there in the back. Yes, of course everyone should do their best to work toward helping those who need the most – but this post and most of the 190 (to date) comments here are about simply being kinder to those around you. Yeah, the person behind you in line at Starbucks or wherever could afford the coffee you just paid for, or they wouldn’t be queued up – it’s not the money that’s important. It really is the thought that counts.

      • Well said. Thank you.

      • I’m not really certain what it means to say “it’s the thought that counts” in this circumstance, for it seems to me that paying for someone’s coffee in a drive-through lacks discernment. One commenter noted how she bought lunch for someone whose debit card wouldn’t work. That was a helpful, spontaneous, and thoughtful gesture. I’d argue that lunch is a necessary good for someone who works all day and suddenly doesn’t have the money to eat. Coffee is not. This paying for the low-level luxury goods of the fully abled, when clearly you’ve no idea what their level of need might be, seems to be entirely unhelpful, designed to maker the giver feel good about giving.

  76. Thank you and congrats on your promotion to freshly pressed! You’ve outlined a valuable principle – paying it forward – that works in the short term and the long term. Why not do what we can to “pay it forward” for the next generation?

  77. Janet

    Your blog is very timely for me. Last night my daughter was in a very bad bike accident. Complete strangers came to help her and my husband. They called the ambulance, called me to tell me where they were going, took care of their bikes and then called later to make sure things were okay and tell us where to pick up the bikes. My daughter is now home from the hospital. I don’t know what my husband would have done in a relatively isolated area without their help. I plan indeed to pay this forward.

  78. Amazing story and you’re so right… we need to do these acts of kindness more often!! I’m definitely going to do something this weekend and come back!

  79. Loved reading the post…..great story! Looking forward to reading more! Have fun! 🙂

  80. Wonderful story Jane. It’s amazing how easy it is to make a difference in someone else’s life by simply being kind in some way. It’s almost as if it creates a burst of positive energy that keeps working its magic on person after person. When we make a difference in someone else’s life we not only benefit them but also the people they will touch and, by extension, ourselves and the world.

  81. Pat

    These are great, and there are many ways to pay it forward even if you have literally no money–like sincere, specific, kind, encouraging words, even to strangers; like apologizing when you’re unwontedly rude to someone else you don’t even know (a clerk, for example); like praying for a stranger you see…don’t think you have to have money to pay it forward. And don’t think you have to have a lot of money to do it monetarily, either! It is definitely more blessed to give than to receive!

  82. Great ideas. I’ll see what I can do over the weekend as well.

  83. very inspiring…will do my ‘pay it forward’ this weekend… i know it won’t always be a touching story and sometimes the recipient may not always be so grateful (yes, sometimes, they take it as an insult that you pay for whatever they are getting), but these random acts of kindness can really change the world. thanks for a great post. =) hope to come back here soon to share my story.

  84. I’m all for anarchy for the sake of kindness! Or is it kindness for the sake of anarchy? Oh well, either way, I’m in.

  85. ali

    such a lovely post i have stumbled upon…. yesterday while getting my car reregistered i needed to change to a 6 month rego and the woman told me i could only chage it by paying by credit card (of which i dont have) over the internet. the lovely lady then proceeded to use her personal card to pay by bill, and then i gave her the cash. it was such a lovely gesture. so thankyou leonie at the teller!!! 🙂

  86. a little act of kindness can bring so much happiness. my bit share on this is, once a week i bring food for the driver of the cab that i am lucky to ride with, or to the 14 security guards in our building. i taught my kiddos to do the same even just to bring a smile to someone else’ day. cheers 🙂

  87. I love to hear stories like this! It is encouraging so even if we never know, we can “know” because it has meant something to someone at another time!
    Linda

  88. I found your blog as I was logging into my private blog. Awesome story! Funds are a little low, but if I get out this weekend, I will do the same. I’ve done it before, it’s always a great feeling!

  89. This is so inspiring! Thank you 🙂

  90. It’s funny that you posted this. Someone just did this sort of thing for me! My birthday was on Wednesday. My husband and our two boys went out to a restaurant that we’ve never been to before for breakfast. A woman at the table next to ours was also celebrating a birthday with her husband. I simply told her Happy Birthday and she ended up paying for our breakfast. It was the sweetest thing. You can read all about it on my blog http://patronsinsurance.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/free-breakfast-on-my-birthday/.

    I’ll be on the look out for an opportunity to “pay it forward” myself. Good luck to everyone else doing the same. May God bless you all with opportunities!

  91. jonmichaelson

    oh boy oh boy!!!! I’m totally gonna do this!!! Your kindness and your spirit are so inspiring!

  92. candice

    thank you! the smallest kindness is always underestimated! you rock jane!

  93. thepieholeoverfloweth

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. I just started this whole blog thing, so may be one day… I loved this post.

  94. blairpet

    I’m in!

  95. Hey! Awesome Post & thanks for sharing it! I believe in this because things happen for a reason.
    You Rock!

    your friends, XR VOLUME

  96. yes..
    my own life was lightened thanks to the random act of kindness just a few days ago.. when my blind/nystagmic son’s 1.5 year old Chihuahua Chico, was run over by a car and died

    I am dealing with divorce, my husband not paying regular alimony for our 4 kids for the past 3 years, ever since he physically assaulted me and broke my nose and I asked him to leave home

    children were used to different comfort levels and had to scale them down recently since then as even though I work, it isn’t enough to support three teenagers and one six year old

    I have about 5000 dollar debt, have a home fully paid for in a Unesco listed historic town, but can’t draw a loan on it, until I am divorced.. etc

    I’m stuck in a vicious circle, and I might lose my home if I don’t find that ridiculous small amount

    anyhow.. to cut the long story short..
    a person from overseas, who never met me, but who read online about our family pet having died bought my son a new Chihuahua

    even though I could not have afforded it I was willing to spend the money I saved for kid’s beds – for the new therapeutic pet..
    the random act of kindness solved my dilemma and helped unexpectedly

    often blood means nothing as relatives who could – don’t help
    yet complete strangers can make the life a little sweeter

    thank you for the morning ‘feel good’ blog post

    Maty

    • soul voicings

      Hey. I read this quote, and thought maybe it will help? “One could say that going through loss is the great awakener. It is a
      potential opening if you don’t run away from it. What is usually
      condemned as ‘bad’ by the mind and the mind-made self is actually grace
      coming into your life.” Take care~and I will be smiling at the hope that u had or will get through it stronger~~with love and strength

  97. Yes, a great thing to do. Even a smile or a kind word to/from a stranger can give a lift.
    Keep it going.

  98. Awesome. I was hoping more people were doing this. Got the idea from the movie “Pay it forward”, recently found a guy stranded on the highway with a popped tyre and no spare. Stopped, got out, spoke to the gentleman. We put up a couple of warning triangles, took him to the nearest station in my car, payed for a new tyre and took him back.
    Got a call about 3 days later, he told me that because of my help he arrived at his meeting on time and landed an account for his dad’s company that has saved them from bankruptcy, when asked how he could pay me back, I simply asked him to go and watch “Pay it forward” and take it from there. He sms’s/texted me a few days later and said awesome movie, awesome idea, he’s done it once already to pay me back and he’s going to do it more often again.

  99. Pingback: Inspirational « Grail_Questing

  100. Megs

    That is a beautiful idea – and reading the response from the lady you bought the coffee for… i can see that it’s really worth doing. I think I might have to start doing little acts of kindness. Thank you 🙂

  101. So very inspiring – although we don’t have many drive through coffee places or road toll booths in Australia I’m sure there are millions of other great ideas like this that would work just as well. It would make my day if someone did that for me!

  102. This is a great post. And what a wonderful thing you did!!! I write about doing nice things (and I also contemplate about spinning not-so-nice things to keep up a positive outlook) on my blog, and I totally know what you are talking about! (Have you seen the movie “Pay It Forward”? It’s terrific.) The more considerate and kind I am to strangers, the more it comes back to me in other ways. I don’t have the money to pay other people’s bills at restaurants, but instead I let people with fewer items go ahead of me at the store, I smile at strangers, make cheerful chit chat in the elevator, make a point of being kind to the customer service rep at the store or the other end of the phone. Not only does this become rewarding in its own respects, but often very tangible results abound from it! I’m so excited about this post–and that it got on Freshly Pressed. YES! Hopefully we’ll have an epidemic of niceness!

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation!

  103. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    Great idea and reminder that often times it’s the little things in life that mean so much.

    After being Freshly Pressed myself over a month ago, I was overwhelmed with joy at the response to my post. I wanted someone else to feel the way I did that day, so now I do a Pay it Forward Friday post almost every Friday. It’s where I feature someone else’s blog that’s inspired me in some way. It’s not a monetary RAOK, but I hope the outcome is the same (i.e., fostering awareness that we’re all in this together and that we all matter).

  104. i love this post! im a college student and last year I made a presentation in my communications class on the history of the Smiley Face. then i promoted world smile day and encouraged people to do a random act of kindness on the first friday of every october. i should have told everyone to do it everyday!

  105. hello! this is a great post! im a college student from the Philippines and i recently started a project called 500 Strangers…inspired by random acts of kindness. i hope you can help me promote this project because i really want to inspire people to do more than what is expected of them and always be kind. i really believe that the world will be a better place if only each of us would take time to share and give even to people we dont really know. 🙂

    here’s the link to the project: http://500strangers.blogspot.com/

  106. Brilliant – I love your story and I am a big fan of doing things with no expectation of return; I wish more people would. It doesn’t have to involve money, but sometimes that’s the easiest way to make this kind of contribution to others.

    A few years ago I was a passenger in a London black cab; I have a ‘thing’ for cabs and cabbies, I am very fond of them, no matter how grumpy or politically irascible. Usually they entertain me. On this occasion, the cabbie confessed to me he wasn’t his usual chipper self as his granddaughter had just died suddenly of leukemia. After years of supporting his daughter’s family as they lived through this, his main worry was how he and his daughter would now give her the funeral and sending off she deserved. He was working every shift he could to try and raise some extra money. I could see his moist eyes in the rear view mirror. He dropped me at my destination and I told him a small lie, saying I had no money to pay – but I would run to the nearest cash machine and come straight back. He sounded so beaten when he said ‘fine, I’ll wait here’. I went and withdrew £200 ($350) and ran back, handed it through the window. He looked at me in utter confusion. I said ‘For your lovely granddaughter’. He was speechless. I just said ‘Pay it Forward!’ and ran away. It felt amazing.

    Foolish? Was I a sucker for a sob story? You know what, I don’t care 🙂

  107. I used to do these kinds of things with a friend of mine. We would pitch in and pay for whom ever was sitting next to us when we went out for lunch. And I’ve been on the receiving end as well. Someone once paid for my parking. It’s an easy way to make someone’s day.

  108. Great idea and reminder for people to be more generous and considerate with one another. 🙂

    I haven’t paid for a stranger’s coffee or filled their parking meter yet, but yesterday after work, I was on a bus with a very stressed out driver. Some car driver had honked his horn at him and they yelled at each other. Anyways, after the other car drove off, the bus driver was still obviously pissed off.

    When my stop came, I looked at the bus driver, said thank and told him that I hope his day gets better.
    He said thank you and seemed to relax after that.

    People tend to stress each other out sometimes, so it is good to try and say some nice things to someone to try and diffuse any residual anger or negativity. 🙂

  109. I am really new to blogging. I was blessed by your blog today. It encouraged me to read more blogs and pay it forward more. It is amazing what you can learn. I remember a few weeks back I went to the subway and bought a a couple of new foot long sandwiches for people at my job to try. (actually I was curious about the sandwiches so I brought them back to work). It seemed as if no one was interested but a couple hours went by and the Admin Assistant came up to me and asked me if I put the sandwiches in the fridge with the note for anyone to try. Long story short, she was running errands and wouldn’t have had any lunch if I hadn’t put them in there. You can bet it put a smile on my face.

  110. labagiri

    very great post.I liked it.

  111. Paying an act of kindness forward is a good idea. But it does not involve money all the time. It can be also giving someone a helping hand , Saying “Good morning”,or if you are in the work force being kind to the people you greet. Come to visit my site to pay it forward! Thank You!!!

  112. michvayn

    This is such a great entry, and you did such a nice thing. Some times it’s the small things in life that count. I once had someone a ahead of me in food store pay for my stuff, it wasn’t much just about 10 dollars..i said thank you and he smiled and walked away. its such a great feeling to be on the other end.

  113. Thank you so much for this! I too have been lacking in my good deeds as of late. I don’t think I would have realized it on my own, if it weren’t for your post. Thanks again. 🙂

  114. buytupperwarebangalore

    Your random acts blow me away. I too think like you and like to help people out. Well in about a week and a half we are putting up The Pied Piper of Hamelin and all the kids were giving the lady in charge so much trouble (they were just being naughty) that I thought I’d announce that if all the kids were quiet and spoke their lines well they would get a treat from me and so I got them a whole lot of goodies and it was so nice to see the kids all 20 of them in varying ages have a good time. I mean this happened only 2day and none of the kids were mine.

  115. Amy

    I love this! I too commit the random acts of kindness, usually paying for someone at the drive thru or tollbooth. I have little “business cards” that I give to the person at the counter so they can hand it to the person behind me when they go to pay. The cards say:

    Kindness lives! Pass it on…

    I am the Phantom Cheer-Giver:
    Apprentice Philanthropist.

    You are the recipient of
    a random act of kindness.
    Have a delicious day!

    “All that matters is what we do
    for each other.” ~ Lewis Carroll

    – – –

    I think the cards help people understand what’s going on. Sometimes people get suspicious or afraid of something “free,” which is sad.

    I’m glad that person caught up to you – it is nice to know that you (we) are making a difference in the world! I hope this kind of thing catches on like wildfire!

    Thank you for sharing.

  116. I had a wonderful huge wood desk given to me 12 plus years ago that I could easily have sold, but decided to PIF to someone in need. We are seniors downsizing. It was stuffed full, miss it, but knew it was necessary. It went to a lady with a family who returned to college and needed space to study and put her papers that were in many totes her husband told me.

  117. That is a beautiful idea – and reading the response from the lady you bought the coffee for… i can see that it’s really worth doing. I think I might have to start doing little acts of kindness. Thank you

  118. miamimassage

    Oh my,
    I got teary eyed at the point where the lady caught up to you in the car.

  119. Great post. I used to drop $1 bills randomly because I love finding money and assume others do as well. I love the idea of paying it forward and will do the same next time I have the chance. Thanks for reposting.

  120. I hit the wrong link and ended up here – happy accident! I love the point of your post – how giving, even something seemingly small, can affect someone for the good. I’m so glad the lady caught up with you so that you could see that!
    I buy $5.00 gift cards from MacDonald’s to give away. But reading this inspired me to be more open to other opportunities. Thanks!

  121. Such a nice post and congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    I haven’t done something like that in a LONG time. Very inspirational and renews my faith in humanity… at least a little. 🙂 It’s so easy to forget in these trying times that other people are struggling too, maybe worse off than you are.

    Seize the power to do something nice for someone else!

    Natina

    http://crosswordcharlie.wordpress.com/

  122. I really like that post, it actually never came to my mind to do such a thing, but your story is very inspiring. Great idea.

  123. Pingback: The Facebook Universe « Tricky Relativity

  124. Jeff Wolfe

    I enjoyed reading your post and thought it was inspirational!

    Looking forward to reading future posts!

  125. m@jo

    I love these kinds of ways in life to show we can b part of a nice and emotional ACT
    few years ago I was taking cooking lessons and every week I brought some delicious dish to try with my husband. It fell into such a routine, that my partner was not appreciating. That rainy winter evening I went to my sisters house and before she opens the door I left her a big Tarte Tattin ( delicious Apple pie very french) with a nice letter letting her know that “someone” who really appreciates her a lot; can make her happy and incentivating her to do somethg nice as well (keep it foward).

  126. love the idea. I’m a bit for taking the random out of the equation. If you be interested please see http://leesis.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/%e2%80%98practice-random-acts-of-kindness%e2%80%99-be-buggered/
    cheers

  127. Hello Jane, I just wanted to stop in and show my support for this particular topic. I absolutely LOVED the movie ‘Pay it Forward’, the concept really, really inspired me. So, I decided to use it a couple of times.

    Once, there was a guy who’s car was stalled out on a saturday night on Westport rd in Kansas City, MO right when everyone was hitting the bars. He was trying to flag someone down to jumpstart his car, he didn’t have cables. So, it was easy for people to tell him ‘no’ because not a lot of people even had cables, let alone wanted to stop for this guy(he was slightly intimidating looking).

    I saw him and decided to ‘pay it forward’, to his unbelief I pulled over, pulled out my cables, and said, ‘let’s do this!’ He was so overjoyed that he almost cried, he couldn’t believe that I, of all people, would stop. Kansas City, unfortunately, is still plagued by racism. And, I am whiter than white in appearance, and the astonished look on his face was unmistakable. And, a magical moment happened, this amazing thing, a healing.

    When it was done, he was so emphatically thankful and kept saying, “Man, if there’s anything I can do, just let me know!” My reply was, “pay it forward man. Don’t worry about me, you owe me nothing, but sometime, somewhere, someone will need your help. Be there for them, that’s all you need to do.”

    I got another astonished look, followed by a huge smile, and it made my entire year. 🙂

    Love your post, keep hitting us with this awesome, positive, contagious, wonderful stuff!

  128. My pay it forward: As i was driving along the other night I saw a woman broken down by the road. I never ever stop for anyone because even woman can be crazy killers nowadays. My gut said it was ok so I stopped. I called a friend to come help us as this woman had a completely shredded tire. He didn’t have the right tools for her car so we had to call a tow truck. In the mean time a policeman stopped and he told me to go ahead home. He said it was his place to take care of things and not mine. He directed her to pull up into a parking lot up ahead off of the road. Something didn’t feel righ to me so I pulled over with her. Then the policeman proceeded to go to two different calls. The woman would have been sitting in a dark parking lot all by herself had I not decided to stay with her. We had to wait about forty-five minutes on the tow truck. She was very happy that I stayed with her. I was glad to be able to help someone. It turned out her name was the same as my grandmother who is no longer alive. That made it even better.

  129. Pingback: Pay It Forward | Musings on Life & Love

  130. Thank you for a great idea and for reminding me that little everyday acts can mean a great deal!
    When we were travelling in Bali my husband got talking to a wonderful, helpful drinks waiter by the pool. Turned out he was a trainee and as such didn’t get paid at all for working. As we were leaving my husband slipped him 300,000 rupiah (about US$33) which to us wasn’t much but to him was a fortune!!

    http://www.balioffering.wordpress.com

  131. great thinking, great reminder. Need to share your thoughts w/our audience

  132. Count me in too. Something I was planning to sell can be given away. I already know the perfect recipient.
    Thank you for the lovely reminder about the law of reciprocity. It was great timing.

  133. Just a reminder that these random acts of kindness do not have to be based on money. when you change your mindset so that kindness is always at the forefront of your mind, you would be amazed at the ideas that come up. Something as trivial as a smile and a kind word, can make someone’s day. Hold open a door, help a handicap person carry their purchases to their car, send an encouraging e-mail to a depressed person who posted on Craigslist. When I talk to a stranger, I always try to give them a sincere compliment, if possible- “What a great t-shirt!”, “I love your accent, where are you from?” etc. Remember, we’re all in this together.

  134. when i saw your post, i instently remembered my 9th grade english teacher. Helping people gives you a boost of cofidence in yourself. Koodos to you!!

    Mina
    http://minaohh95.wordpress.com

  135. Beautiful. The radio station I listen to does this as well. I always try to do as much good as I can. I’m glad there are people in the world such as yourself.

  136. Thanks for the reminder of what little it takes to warm a heart or prolong a smile.

    An octogenarian friend and I had a couple pick up our tab after brunch one Sunday. It’s been a couple of years and we comment and enjoy re-living it often.

    A little act of kindness for no reason.

  137. Wow, I just love this story, and that she was looking to get a job and had given that up and she appreciated it so much that you got it for her. I do stuff like this for my co-workers, I’ll get someone something if they help me or help them out if they need me to help. Definitely a great idea!

  138. What a great positive thing to do

  139. Great post and congrats on making freshly pressed!

  140. WordCrafter

    Maybe not pay it forward. (Birthday in 2 days) But I will do bro’s chores for him. Good ideas! Grazie.

    thisoldsoul.wordpress.com

  141. To have and show compassion towards another human being, that should be a goal for everyone. I live in Austin and if you have ever been here then you will understand. There are a lot of bums on our street corners. While I refuse to give them cash, I do make them sandwiches, pass them fruit, hand them a bottle of water, or toss them an occasional beer. While it’s not technically paying it forward, the smiles and responses I get show appreciation. I don’t do it to stroke my ego. I do it because it’s a tough world and anytime you can make it easier on another soul you should. I have also rescued 30 or 40 crickets from my shrieking girlfriend by placing them outside instead of allowing them to meet their demise.

  142. BigFoot Bread

    What a great post. I sell bread at Farmers Markets and so as a favor between vendors I get really good deals on fresh berries. Last Wednesday I stopped at a random gas station and there sitting on my passenger seat was a 1/2 box of strawberries, 6 pints in all. Just without really thinking I gave one of the pints to the gas station attendant who immediately shared them with his co-worker. Bringing a smile to someone’s face and appreciating their hard work with a simple gift of kindness not only blesses them but you as well.

  143. That is so sweet. I need to do that more often…great post!

  144. Everyone would be better if they would act like this. Awesome, you inspired me to try to do a random act of kindness everyday.

  145. I really like your blog. I was trying to find a was to subscribe or follow but didn’t see any RSS Feed buttons or GFC option.

  146. The act of “paying it forward” is an act of kindness. I still remember the movie I watched with the same title (Paying Forward) and I still appreciate the value of imparting kindness to everyone.

  147. I take the train to get to work. One day as I was getting out of the train station, just before I’m about to go through the turnstile, I spotted an elderly woman standing on the other side of the turnstile. She looked anxious and looked at passengers as they entered and exited. No one seemed to notice her. A little voice inside me predicted for me that I was meant to help her in some small way.

    As I crossed the turnstile, she searched out my eyes and asked me if I had an unlimited MetroCard. I didn’t. It was summer and I wasn’t talking any summer classes so I stopped buying the unlimited rides. Nonetheless, I nodded and swiped the card for her. She uttered a quick thanks and hurried inside; I suppose she was relived to be finally on her way. I didn’t try to catch her eyes for recognition for reasons Jane mentioned, so I too turned around and hurried to get to work.

    As I walked up the stairs though I started to smile to myself. Two dollars and twenty five cents spent, but I felt a tad bit richer.

  148. So glad I found this. It was very inspiring. I love the way things worked out for the girl going on the interview. It made me tear up a little. Amazing things happen with an open heart. Thanks!

  149. lisamendy

    This is a great post and I definitely want to do more random acts of kindness in the future 🙂 Thanks for writing this

  150. Awh, really inspiring. I was almost teary eyed. 🙂 I’ve had this personal tradition I started just 2 years ago. Night before Christmas Eve, I give away a whole roast chicken to a homeless person. In Philippines, even in the city, there are a lot of homeless people that you see, sometimes with kids. Been doing this for 2 Christmases already, and will be continuing the tradition for the Christmases to come. 🙂

    I’ve never done paying for the one behind me though. Now I’m thinking of doing it too. It feels good when you help people, even strangers. 🙂

  151. Rich

    There is certainly more joy in giving. Will also try it out.

  152. Steven Harris

    Wonderful thought for the day – well, for life really. And yet again you’re a Freshly Squeezed Jane. Congratulations.

  153. Mel

    Beautiful, I am glad for people like you in the world who make it a better place!

  154. http://leannan.tumblr.com/payitforward

    i’ve had this on my blog for months now! 🙂
    i work at mcdonalds and in the drive thru quite often. i’ve never seen this happen 😦 although, in the area i live in, i doubt it would.. sadly.

  155. Hi,
    What a nice post. At first I thought well, this is one nice person. Then after reading the comments, I thought wow, look how many people are inspired from what you wrote! Totally awesome post!

  156. Thank you Jane. I came to read the post based on the title; I always enjoy a good coffee story as well.

  157. Pingback: Random Acts of Kindness « My Other Blog

  158. Hello, love your blog…I am new and need friends..if anyone has any suggestions for expanding my blog, please let me know. Thanks! : )

  159. Not only did you quote from one of my favorite movies, but you touched on a topic that is so beautiful! I am glad you are following the pressing in your heart to make a difference. Good luck with the upcoming school year!

  160. Great attitude.

    Sometimes even a kind word can make the difference to a persons day, week or even month. In a world of self-interest such awareness and kindness seems rare to me

  161. Inspiring post, made my day! I hope to pay your kindness act forward to other strangers, what kindness did you do to me? By posting this and making me wonder, even that is a kind deed! Once again, Thank you for this lovely post.

    Sulfo’
    http://sulfonix.wordpress.com/

  162. My son sends his school cafetaria leftovers to the local firestation.

    http://gmomj.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/the-chef-makes-moroccan-chickenrecipe-included/

    Does this count?

  163. I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago with my two kids and two friends who were in town visiting. We were laughing and having way too much fun. A random man walked up to us and gave us $20 to “keep on having a good time.” We were so stunned! We headed to the pool with the money and paid for as many people as that $20 would allow. It was a great day!

    K of IAFN
    http://www.itsafullnest.com

  164. This is simply incredible and both my husband and I will do our part this weekend. I’m hoping you don’t mind, but I’m reposting this on my blog to help spread the word. Also posting this to my Facebook page, etc. It may not change the world, but maybe it’ll change many individuals worlds.

  165. djwills

    Man, I love reading blogs that make me look at myself. I’m always on a journey to better myself. So, I’ll be looking for my personal random act of kindness to touch someone else’s life. Congrats on your 1 year blog anniversary. I’ve just started blogging and recently did my first post. I would love for you to take a look and comment. Enjoy!

  166. nofearofdanger

    Will do.

  167. Michael

    I always liked the concept of the “Random Act of Kindness” I think in our times, we will see a lot more of the unknown good deed! Let all ride this wonderful wave of joy!

  168. What a sweet story. It’s always amazing how something we think is so insignificant, means so much to someone else. And now you’ve inspired me to do something good…for a change. 🙂

  169. Great story, Jane, and an inspiration to us all.

  170. You said it, Jane — beautiful idea!

  171. Interesting take! This site makes for very good reading!

    Ed Wozniak
    Balladeer’s Blog
    http://www.glitternight.com

  172. I love your post. I will try and help someone tomorrow. I will hopefully write about it too and link it back to here.
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts, this was my first one. Thanks.
    http://www.anchalprasher.wordpress.com

  173. What a lovely story, and a great way to show kindness.

  174. This is a wonderful and inspiring post! I have often thought of doing something like this, but I’m ashamed to admit…I’ve rarely done it. I am inspired to do it more now and look forward to coming back here to share it with you and your readers.

  175. Oh. My. Goodness. Go out of town for a few days and come back to 190 pending comments for approval in my inbox. With a Freshly Squeezed, I mean Pressed feature, to boot. I am in shock. Awe. Stunned and flabbergasted.

    First, I want to thank my loyal blog followers. Without you, I wouldn’t be here. Seriously. There are precious few that truly write into the wind, without a care who reads it. Sadly, I’m not one of them.

    Second, I want to apologize to the 190 of you out there waiting to see your comment on my blog. I’ve only just logged onto a computer during my hiatus. I WILL get cracking, that is, clicking.

    And lastly, I’d like to thank The Academy (or the WordPress editors) for deeming this post Freshly Pressed worthy – and on a Friday, no less. (the check is in the mail!)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the encouraging and thoughtful comments here. Blog World is a truly wonderful place!

  176. This is an awesome post!I love the idea of paying it forward, especially since you never know what that act of kindness can do for a person’s day.

    lemolove.wordpress.com

  177. I recently wrote out my bucket list and one of my line items is to make someone smile each and every day. I am so glad I found your post as it gives me inspiration to extend those smiles to friends and strangers alike. Your “freshly pressed” spot is well deserved and I hope it gets the word out and inspires others!

    http://www.denisesdish.com

    • What an awesome item to have on your bucket list. I try to do so as well whenever I can, but putting one person a day as a goal seems easy and attainable, and I’m sure it spreads the love 🙂

  178. Your blog is so impressive, Nice of you to share your wonderful experience and making us as your followers.Keep Going and thanks for you sharing here.

  179. Yes, a truly amazing story and so inspiring. I just heard about this ‘Pay It Forward’ concept at a seminar this weekend and have yet to get a chance to do my act of kindness. Will definitely pass this story on to everyone!

    Today is an exciting day for me – I just started and posted my first blog – whoohoo!!

  180. Greetings to all,

    I commend you for a great post. What a great feel good idea! It’s amazing to learn how far our hands can reach when we extend it. I’m inspired! So, where will I pay it forward? Well, it may not, exactly, fit this idea but I will make a donation at soles4souls.org. Helping put shoes on the feet of victims of the latest flash floods – which took the lives of over 1,600 already poverty stricken people injured thousands more greatly affecting the lives of 4.2 million people of Western Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan – is a great way to pay it forward. $1.00 = 1 pair of shoes! How many feet can you cover?

    http://www.soles4souls.org/news/2010/08-03/soles4souls-commits-100000-pairs-to-pakistan-flood-victims

  181. Thanks for the reminder Jane! It reminds me of the old movie with Haley Joel Osmond from a few years ago. I might have to go watch it this weekend!


    Trindaz on Fedang

  182. I like the idea of “pay it forward”… There’s a commercial on TV.. I forget what for.. Where this one person does something nice for another person, who does something nice for another person, and it just goes full circle. It’s good karma to do for other people and not expect anything in return. The world would be such a better place if it was like this all the time… 🙂 A very nice thought.

  183. ekoli

    I am so totally with you! What a great reminder that it doesn’t have to be something big to be something big.

    http://beansandkindness.wordpress.com/

    Once a man hiked a day into the mountains of Nepal after me to return my passport and all my cash (more than he would make in several years) and credit cards which I had left in his car. He did it to be nice, because I was nice to him. I am still trying to pay that forward. Did I mention that when he found me I was lost and he helped me find the trail? But for the kindness of strangers I would still be lost…

  184. sayitinasong

    Great post and indeed an idea. What i’m wondering is, has anyone ever reacted negatively if you have “paid it forward”?

  185. I noticed this blog on the homepage of WordPress (I myself only started blogging a few days ago) and after reading it and the comments of others, really really glad to know that there are so many people out there committed to making this world a better place by bringing more generosity and kindness… Sending lots of love and positivity all the way from Melbourne Australia ox

  186. How nice of you! I used to always pay for the person behind me’s toll, but now I have an EZ pass, so I’ll have to try something else. Great story!

  187. Your act of kindness is very needed and very much appreciated. I am grateful to hear there are people like you in this world. You are my inspiration for the day. I will now move forward today, thinking of your kindness and making the conscious effort to do the same, maybe not with $3.18 for a coffee, but definately something.

    Thank you again.

  188. A number of comments go in the direction that this kind of good deed is misguided, charity to those who do not need it, or even just for the benefit of the giver.

    To some degree, they are right (cf. my own previous comment); however, they also to a large part miss the point, as I have understood it:

    “Paying forward” is not intended to distribute wealth, but to increase the happiness in the world. Effectively, the hope is that if A makes B’s day a little brighter, then B will, in turn, make C’s day brighter (and possibly a number of other peoples’), C will do the same for D, and so on.

    (Notably, having money does not automatically bring happiness; nor does poverty automatically bring misery.)

  189. Mary Ann Mac

    Everyone talks about the power of positive thinking, but the real power lies in positive deeds. Every day we are surrounded by people in need of a helping hand or an encouraging word, but most folks won’t slow their frantic pace to even notice these situations, let alone take action. You don’t need to spend money to make a difference. The only investment needed is a change of thinking. Every night review the day and and think of the lives you touched that day. Did they end their day feeling better or worse for having crossed paths with you? Did you flip someone off in traffic, or let someone ahead of you in the grocery line? Every little act, no matter how insignificant, adds up on the big ledger. All of our daily deeds are shaping the world, for better or worse. Please everybody, start by slowing down to notice what’s going on around you. Patience is the twin sister of kindness.

  190. Nice little read. I try to do this, not as much as I would like but I do try. The way I find my self giving is usually at work, if someone is looking for that last quarter to pay for what every they got, if I know I have a quarter or two in my wallet I pay it for them. It usually makes someones day (since our prices are soooo outragously high)

    Steve

    • I actually had someone do this for me a couple of weeks ago. I went to Macy’s with a 17 month old gift card (I can’t afford Macy’s without one) and bought a shirt. I had about $5 left on it and decided to buy a shirt for my baby. I was short about 25 cents, but the cashier took a quarter out of her purse for me. It was a sweet thing to do. I hope the people you work with appreciate your gesture too.

  191. I’ve done this for years–specifically, when leaving a restaurant, of which there are many in New Orleans, I’ll get my food to go. I don’t eat much anyway and there’s always much left over. I also try to get plastic wear and some napkins. Then I give it to the first homeless person I see on the street. But watch out: While most folks appreciate the gesture, a woman once took a swing at me with her cane, saying “I don’t want anything you’ve eaten off of!” I understood and gave it to the next person I saw.

  192. Ancilla Irwan

    Heard about pay it forward long time ago. Thanks to Enid Bylton. However, never had an idea to apply that in a way that you did.

  193. Great story, Jane. Thank you for sharing !

    Akoha has a mission called Freelance Anthropology where you “Post about something unexpectedly touching that you saw or overheard in public.”

    The stories are similar to what you just shared, albeit maybe with less of a “pay-it-forward” angle, but they are inspirational stories as well.

    You can check it out here: http://akoha.com/missions/missions/Freelance%20Anthropology/

    Akoha used to produce “Play-it-forward” card decks, but has since moved onto a new way of encouraging people to do positive deeds.

    Your post also reminds of this thread on Reddit about people participating in random acts of kindness. Some of these stories are really touching, including other people who pay for the car behind them 🙂
    http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/c1xf8/how_many_of_you_like_participating_in_random_acts/

    Thanks again for sharing your experience 🙂

  194. I tried, but was declined. It’s been crazy hot here this week – over 100 every day – and last evening I tried to help out. My grocery store is a few blocks from a low-income senior living center. As I was leaving I saw this tiny ancient woman (in a skirt and head scarf, no less) walking back to the apartments. It was about 5pm, the hottest time of day. I slowed down next to her and offered her a ride. She didn’t speak much English but pointed to indicate that she was not going much farther. I asked if she was sure and she said yes. Then she made a sign of the cross and said “Bless you” and we parted ways.

    I was happy to have touched her, but I really wish she’d just let me drive her home.

  195. Went over my first toll bridge today and paid for the next three people in line. I don’t drink coffee so I was excited to have an opportunity to pay it forward. Thanks again for the inspiration and positive vibes!

    http://WWW.denisesdish.com

  196. Earlier this year, I was unemployed, receiving no unemployment payments, and just generally feeling dejected and alone. One day, out of the blue, I received an anonymous package of all my fave things. B/c of the city on the postage stamp, I figured out it was my SIL. I was so grateful that I decided to pay it forward anonymously as well.

    A coworker was having a difficult time in her relationship. Apparently, it had always been that way with her husband and she was getting ready to make some tough decisions. Although I didn’t have a lot of money, I sent her flowers anonymously and she never did figure out it was me. On the card, I explained that I was paying forward the good deed someone did for me & I asked that she do the same in return. I heard from someone else that she loved the flowers and was going to pay it forward!

  197. Great post. Thank you.
    It reminded me of an article I read about how happiness is contagious. Plenty of articles about that around.

    My latest post is a different side of the same coin. It is about NOT paying forward hate. I think that is important too – but must admit, I like the immediacy of this approach.

    Thanks! And congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  198. Pingback: time for a gibbs-slap. | Looking Glass Dreams

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