March 14, 2012

Paying It Forward ~ Do You?

 I am a firm believer and participant in Random Acts of Kindness/Paying It Forward, this concept was made popular by the 2000 movie Pay It Forward, starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osiment.

Synopsis and photo from: movie fanatic

"Pay It Forward focuses on a young child, Trevor McKinney, whose mother is an alcoholic and father is abusive. Trevor's social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet, gives him the assignment to come up with a plan to change the world and put it in action. The twelve year old comes up with Pay It Forward."

An important aspect about paying it forward is that it should be done with a selfless spirit, meaning you help another person without hoping for repayment or good deeds in return. 

About a month ago I went to the post office to mail a package and to buy some stamps. Of course, there was a long line and only one postal worker servicing the customers. As the line inched up I got ready for my turn, all the papers were filled out for the tracking number, my debit card in hand, so I could have a quick and more importantly fast transaction, so the line would keep moving. I mailed my package and purchased a roll of 100 stamps at a cost of $44.00 grabbed my things and headed towards my car and home.

When I arrived home I went to my desk to put away the stamps, and they were nowhere to be found, not in my purse, coat pocket, or anywhere in my car. I was disappointed with myself for wasting $44.00 because of my carelessness.

The other day as I approached the same post office to mail a package I thought about my carelessness and the lost stamps. Walking into the post office, I wondered if perhaps I had left them on the counter by mistake, I quickly told myself that this was well over a month ago and that not everyone lives in "Paulette Land" where dreams sometimes come true.

I was shocked to see no line and a smiling postal worker greeting me from her window. I placed my package on the counter and proceeded to get my wallet from my purse, and in the process several small items, such as a packages of jelly beans, a matchbox car (for my grandchildren), fell from my purse. I mentioned to the clerk that I needed to be more careful because the last time I was here I bought a roll of stamps and lost them.

Yep, you guessed it correctly, the postal employee went to a cabinet reached in and pulled out a roll of stamps. Someone found them on the floor by the exit and returned them to the clerk.  I was shocked, surprised, and extremely thankful by the random act of kindness/Paying It Forward of this stranger.

It appears that even in "Paulette Land" where, by the way, the sky is always a pretty pink, dreams, hopes, and wishes sometimes do come true.

Random Acts of Kindness/Paying It Forward doesn't mean spending large sums of money or tons of effort. It simply means doing something; holding the door for someone that has there hands full of packages or children, letting the person with one item at the check out lane go ahead of you, paying for the persons coffee in front of you at Starbucks. Every gesture of kindness no matter how small could make a difference in someones life.

I will continue to participate in Random Acts of Kindness/Paying It Forward because I am a believer, and yet again a recipient.


  1. Tried and true. We should all be so kind and we would have a better world to live in.

  2. I think exactly the same as you Paulette. Kindness costs nothing.

  3. I loved that movie too and it inspired me to do the same... Thank you for the reminder though. I recently recieved a package from Australia... A bag full of buttons from a person who had heard, (through a mutual friend), that I collected them. The postage cost them $17 au to send. It made my day. Today I shall try to 'pay it forward'

  4. Sometimes just a random act of kindness is great too - a few weeks ago at the thrift store I found some great bowls, a lady came around the corner with the matching platter (darn Goodwill employees breaking up sets). She saw the bowls and said, oh, darn, those go with my platter. I handed them over - she was thrilled and thanked me profusely. I turned into the next aisle and found four fabulous hourglasses for 99 cents each that I loved much more than the original bowls. Fate?

  5. i love that movie too! and i try to go by that ethos in my everyday life :) i find that i get blessed sooo much more than i gave and so this naturally prompts me to do more :) there are alsooosooo many kind and nice people all over the world :)

  6. You sure are!!! I've seen that first hand, you live by a wonderful rule!!!

  7. I remember that movie! Sometimes people never know when the "snowball" effect has included them. I had a young man email me one day just out of the blue, and thank me for what he considered good advice that made his world a better place. When I had given him some advice many years ago, I really hadn't given it another thought but he did and was able to use it. My advice was so simple; I had told him if I was still young and single, I would work as many jobs as physically and mentally possible in order to save as much money and have no debt, not even a car loan. I guess he did it. You never know!

  8. This is something I live by. Even if it's as simple as telling someone they look pretty and making them smile or letting someone have the right of way in traffic.

    Recently, I lost $60.00 in cash while at the grocery store (fell out of my back pocket when I went to grab my phone). I didn't realize it until I went to pay - I took a chance and asked the store clerk if someone returned sixty dollars in twenty dollar bills thinking that I was going to hear "no". Surprisingly, the clerk pulled out my money - someone had returned it ... I wish I knew who it was because I'd treat them to lunch. It made my day to know that there are still good hearted, selfless people out there.