Should We, or Shouldn’t We Pay It Forward – One Person’s True Story

Every so often we run across stories of every day people doing some completely random acts of kindness in our world.

Whether it’s a friend when there are none, a caring hand when it seems none are left or perhaps providing a meal or just a ride somewhere to help another person in need. There are random every day people doing random acts of kindness all over the place.

But it’s not easy sometimes is it.

We hear stories of people taking advantage of others who give money or, money being used on drugs and we often battle ourselves when it comes to paying it forward.

Random acts of kindness sound good, but what about when you’re actually faced with the opportunity to do so?

This, is a story that represents that struggle. The struggle that lies within each of us when our time comes to pay it forward.

Do we, or don’t we.

We’ll we ran across a story from a former local man who said he was in his local post office buying stamps for Christmas cards. Cards he was planning on sending out to his family, friends and loved ones.

When he walked into the post office he passed a homeless woman with no coat and shivering. She was holding a sign that as he walked past, noticed it read, “I’m cold and no where to go tonight”.

When he got done buying his stamps and proceeded to leave the post office where he would pass the woman again, he said, “I reached in my wallet and took out a dollar and then handed it to her.”

The homeless woman looked up at the stranger and said thank you. She proceeded to tell the stranger that he was the first person to give her money. That she had been sitting there the entire day.

As he left the homeless woman and starting driving off, he felt frustrated.

Conflicted with the image he had just seen, sadness overcame him. So much so that he drove his car to the nearest Starbucks and walked in and purchased a gift card for the woman and hopped back into his car to give it to her.

On his way back to the post office where the woman had been, he began questioning himself.

“Is this a scam”, he wondered.  Am I doing the right thing? Am I really helping someone? Will she really appreciate the gift I’m trying to give to her? Will she see love from a stranger?

As we all do to ourselves at times, he questioned all of these things in his head and even whether the woman would still be there when he got back.

Sure enough, she was still there. Still sitting in the same spot as he walked up to her once again.

This time though she smiled as she noticed him. The man got close and as he approached her, he kneeled down. He kneeled down to her and said “a dollar is not enough” and with that, proceeded to give her the gift card he had just purchased for her.

Then he said, “Please go and get something hot to stay warm for a couple of days.”

“Please take care of yourself, this is only for you.”

At that, he walked away and got back into his car and drove off.

When it comes to random acts of kindness, sometimes we don’t know the outcome of the story do we. We don’t know what the woman is doing today.

We don’t know if she found a place to stay, has food for another day and we have no idea if even one other person on the entire planet kneeled down to her that day.

But one person did.

One person who did and is still even after giving is left wondering, “did I do right”? So we ask…

Did he?

We don’t have an ending to this story. Only, a question.

We are all presented with moments. Opportunities, that come for a reason. In that moment, do you think he did the right thing?

Should we, or shouldn’t we pay it forward?

Chime In.




Thanks Brad A.

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