The Gift of the Unexpected: Paying It Forward

The Gift of the Unexpected: Paying It Forward

Abby Stone
Dec 16, 2008

121608-forward.jpgThere's a small 99c store near my house that's a treasure trove of great and obviously easy-on-the-pocketbook finds. I'm often in there to see what they've scooped up: boxes of baking soda, thin glasses from Libbey, Ikea dishware, wooden clothespins. Lately, I've been in for silver holiday ornaments which I pile into glass vases, string on clusters, hang from lamps and scatter around to decorate my home for the holidays. The last time I was in there, there was an old man in line behind me with a few groceries, counting and recounting his change to confirm he had enough for the few things he'd picked out. I leaned over to the cashier and whispered to her to put his stuff on my tab. It's a habit I've gotten into when I'm there, paying for the items of the person behind me...

I watched him from my car as he toddled off down the street. Despite my many bags, I felt lighter as I headed home.

Have you ever paid it forward? Here are some things you can do to start:

  • Pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you
  • Send someone over a bottle of wine or a glass or pay for their dessert.
  • Take care of the toll, the subway or the bus fare of the next person in line
  • Put some change in the other parking meters
  • Leave your neighbor a plant (no note!)
  • Hold the door for someone without being asked and smile.
  • Leave someone in your office a present for them to find in the morning.
  • Allow someone else in line in front of you at the grocery store.
  • Let that car cut in front of you.

[image: Tikimau]

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