06 September, 2014

Pay On

Earlier today, I was reading a friend's Facebook post about her experience with being at a store at the checkout line and not having enough money with her for her purchase.  She shared that not only was it already awkward but the bank phone app wasn't obliging and the line behind her was growing. While struggling, the man behind her went ahead and paid for all her items costing over $30.  What generosity. My immediate thought was how this was a good chance to "Pay It Forward."

For those readers who for some reason feign ignorance to this concept, lemme 'splain:

Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a wonderful novel, "Pay It Forward" published in 1999; that also turned into a very popular film of the same title.  As a result, a grassroots response was birthed whereby people randomly and kindly do something good for someone in response to a good deed done on their behalf. However, when you pay it forward, you don't repay the person who did something nice for you. Instead, you do something nice for someone else.  For example, if someone buys your groceries while waiting in line, you might choose to pay for the breakfast meal for a family you see at a table in the restaurant as you leave and they never know who did it or why.

Later this morning, I was out and about downtown.  I was about to head over to Starbucks and I checked my parking meter. Only four minutes left.  My mental conversation went like this:
"Only four minutes. Hmm.  It's Friday, I don't see any police cars.  I know what I want from Starbucks, I can make it across the street and back in four minutes." Inside a quite voice whispered:

As I was walking back to my car, I notice a tall woman and a youngish man in a green cap standing beside my car. I didn't know if they were friends, or flirting or whatever but I was intrigued--ok, perhaps annoyed--that they were standing in front of my car door. As I stride up to them, I overhear a conversation about parking options in the neighborhood. I quickly assess the situation and realize that this guy in a green hat and matching polo is actually a parking meter attendant. Gulp.  He and the lovely lady finish their sentences, laugh and turn to me.  "You should thank this lady. She just saved you from a parking ticket." I look and see my meter flashing at me. "I was just about to write you a ticket." Wow. I turned to her and said thank you. She looked at my meter and laughed. I tell them both how appreciative I am and that I will now "pay it forward."  He seemed to understand what I meant but she just smiled and crossed the street.

I knew I had been given a gift by this exchange.  Instead of what would have been my usual response of giving myself grief for having not listened to 'that still small voice' I also intuitively knew, I was meant to have this entire experience just as it happened.  Whether it was for one or both of my benefactors, or for the person(s) for whom I will pay it forward later on.  I know that I am blessed by all of it.

If all this is a new idea for you,  may I suggest you read the book (or view the movie) and let this pay it forward concept start to saturate your being. For those of us who understand this theory but might need to dust it off a little, may I invite you to share my story by paying it forward to other.
In addition, here is a link by which you may learn more and donate, too.


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