Thank You Fearless Followers!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pay It Forward...

When my youngest son was born, as a shower gift I received a double stroller one that I referred to as "the blue limo" because it comfortably accommodated both my boys who were two and half years apart. The stroller also housed all the necessary items in its ample trunk and sported a really cool sunroof. When my friend got married a few years later, I packed "the limo" in my minivan van and headed off with my husband and boys to the church and later to the reception.

Upon arriving at the reception my youngest one started acting up and I placed him in the stroller so he could sleep. At some point during the night, the older one got sleepy and so I wiggled his skinny body into the back seat and he also went to sleep. Perfect. Now, my husband and I could dance, walk and chat with friends without having to worry about the boys. However, my friend and her husband decided to leave rather early and unexpectedly and so every one rushed out to see them off.

There were about 300 people in the facility heading for the door at the same time. My husband and I became separated in the stampede, but I held the stroller tightly and ran for the exit. I stood with the very large blue stroller trying to get out the door for what seemed hours though I am sure it was just a couple of minutes. Person after person walked right by me, through me, over me and around me, and no one offered to let me pass much less help me lower the stroller down the two steps. I remember standing in amazement until I began to laugh at myself and at the ridiculous behavior of the people around me. Eventually, someone stopped in her tracks, moved everybody out of the way, grabbed the front end of the stroller and helped me bring it down the steps out of every body's way. I need to believe she helped me out of kindness and pity and not out of anger because I was holding up the traffic.

I have never forgotten that day, just as I have never forgotten the day someone driving in the car ahead of me paid my toll, or the time my boys and I had breakfast at a local restaurant and exchanged a few words with some strange woman who later quietly walked out after paying for our breakfast. She was long gone by the time the waitress told me. Most recently, an older woman at the supermarket gave me three carnations at the checkout for no reason, except that she wanted to. These events don't happen everyday for me but when they do, I am reminded to pay it forward.

When we do something for another person, we should do it without expecting or requiring anything in return. When we contribute to charity or help others, we should do it because we "want to" and not because we "have to" and when we give, we should give quietly, much like the woman in the restaurant or the man who paid my toll and just drove away. We should give because it makes us whole, because we take pleasure in seeing someone else happy, excited or simply because we "truly" care about these other beings who inhabit the Earth along with us.

Is it impossible to believe that some people enjoy participating in these random acts of kindness? Read Coastal Commentaries. Is it impossible to believe that a stranger could care about us? Just read The Oceangram Blog or read Mike Docherty's post at Fast Company. Is it impossible to believe that someone could give his or her life for one of us? No, it is not impossible, for it happens all the time in this country.

Awarded the Medal of Honor after they sacrificed their lives for others.

Pay it forward...

Be patient and watch the ENTIRE video and listen to the words carefully. I first heard the song on Skylar's blog A Wolf Adventure and just loved it!

Pay It Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Click on "the book" and read how the author came up with the idea
Pay It Forward Movement
Pay It Forward Foundation


  1. Thank you for this reminder to do something nice for a complete stranger every now and then. Even if no one has done anything for us, the chain has to start somewhere!

    Have you seen the movie Pay It Forward by the way? Very touching.

  2. One of my favorite things to do...and it's so stinkin' to let someone have cuts in line at the grocery store that only has a few items. By the time I unload the vast array of foodstuffs from my cart, they're done and it's my turn.

    I also like taking a cart from someone who is done unloading into their car. Saves them from having to return it and, in the event they had no intentions of returning it, keeps it from being left out in the middle of everything.

    So, those are a couple of grocery store-ish things to do.

  3. Great post. It's amazing the power that those little acts of kindness have upon our memories and our outlook on life. I still remember from years and years ago a few times when older couples would come up to our family and tell us, "You look like a very happy family with great kids. Just wanted to tell you that." As young parents, that gave us a tremendous amount of encouragement!

  4. Hi Shiv

    I agree...someone must lead the way. And yes I did see the film and after reading a little about Catherine Hyde, her movement and the countless stories of "paying it forward" I hope to read her book too. The film was sad but at the same time inspirational and its meaning clearly communicated.

    Hi Carol

    Great suggestions, easy and simple ways to spread the kindness around. Doesn't cost much as you point out but it can make a world of difference.

    Hi smallworld reads

    You raise a good point. Even "words" positive and genuine ones can make a world of difference. Believe it or not I get happy inside and my mood changes completely when perfect strangers say "good morning" to me. They ARE NOT just words. I know exactly what you mean.

    Thank you all for your visit.

  5. Hi, been reading your posts every time and have you as one of my favorite writing blogs in my side bar, but now I wanted to comment on this very enlightening and inspiring story.

    Indeed, these little acts of kindness should start somewhere. Imagine of each person does just one little good act everyday, the world would be a better place to live in.

    I take charge of groups and one of their "assignments" is to do one good or kind act for the day. This usually trickles down slowly but when they discover that it is so much joy helping others out, it becomes spontaneous for them and their little acts double in number.

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring story.

  6. What a stunningly beautiful and deeply heartfelt post. I cannot get over the power of your writing. It moves me to tears over and over and at the same time lifts my heart up until I feel so much joy. I am so so so proud of you. You really are something. Tears came my eyes when I read this line:

    "I need to believe she helped me out of kindness and pity and not out of anger because I was holding up the traffic."

    Yes you DO need to believe that. Me to. And I so LOVE doing these kinds of unexpected things for people, luckily I'm the sort of person who NEVER keeps doesn't even occur to me to keep score. Which makes giving SO much more fun and joyful. I simply get GREAT pleasure out of offering people happiness. I think it motivates me more than any one thing in my life.

    I so grateful for you: who you are what you give me and the world and how you do it...from your whole being. I swell with love every time I experience you through your writing. That is simply the complete truth. You are exceptional. Your good friend, Robin

  7. I loved how you started this post out with a vivid example, the kindly stranger helping out because help was needed.

    Sometimes I have to remind myself to let go of my suspicions, to not assume that someone wants something out of me when they are simply being kind. (Another one of those childhood hangovers that I am slowly recovering from). I know I'm not the only one. And it's not like I perform kind acts because I expect something in return, so why should I sometimes assume that of others?

    Thanks for this.

  8. A simply amazing post...from an amazing person.
    Paying it forward is how I've always tried to live my life...kindness takes so little effort, and gives so much happiness in return!

    The video is wonderful...

  9. Fearless, another great post!
    These experiences leave us humbled and remind us of our shared humanity.


  10. HI Jena Isle

    Thanks for the positive feedback and all the visits. I enjoy your blogs very much as well.

    Hi Robin

    Thank you for your kind words and constant encouragement. Your passion and enthusiasm for life are contagious, and I owe special people like you much more than you will ever know. I set out to offer others a little inspiration and a little confidence, but in return it is I that have learned so much.

    Hi Jennifer

    "Childhood hangovers" You and I both, but my trips out of South Florida have taken me to incredible places where I have met incredible people. In those travels, I witnessed "another way" of living that I never dreamed possible. My mistrust, biases and suspicions may never wash away completely but I have learned to tame them.

    Hi Azure

    So happy you watched the video. Isn't the song great? The words...the hypnotic feel, the all sounds so True. Thank you for the kind words. Your stories are always very uplifting, and your blog is splendidly beautiful!

    Hi Geoffrey

    Thanks for the visit. It appears we were both in a Pay It Forward mode this past week. I hope to share the link to your story this upcoming week.


  11. Forgive me for taking so long to comment (I really have no good excuse)

    This was a lovely post with a nice sentiment and an important message. Thank you.

    And thank you also for the mention.


  12. I love this story because it reminds us to be kind,no matter what! There's going to be a time when we all are going to need to be nice to someone; I often fall pray to helping someone in need,even a stranger for no reason , i don't know why,but Its a moral i was raised by! But, it has also been a backdraw because it has hurt me in the past! Doing something for someone you don't know,or met can make you a better person !!!

  13. Hi Lala

    Thanks for the visit, and please know that I enjoyed your post very much.

    Hi Miracle

    You have raised very good points. Thank you for always stopping by and may you continue to enjoy your summer!

  14. Mme. Fearless, Natalie Merchant's song and video came immediately to mind when reading your "stroller story". I am including the link. The video almost tells your story to a "T". Enjoy! I truly enjoyed your post. - Nards

  15. Nards you truly are an amazing human being. What you see...oh my... I watched the video and had to hold back the tears. Merchant sings and the video depicts exactly what I tried to express in words. I wish I had included the video with my piece; it would have been so appropriate. Thank you my friend.

  16. Who knew that kindness had a power all its own?

  17. Thank you for this wonderful blog! Im new to the blogging world and yours is the first ive read. What a great positive message your sending out.
    Well done and keep up the good work!


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