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Author Topic: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers  (Read 161036 times)

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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2009, 09:09:59 PM »
Just a few days ago, a friend of ours who is in a very bad way financially brought us some soup and fruit.  Mr. Sirius and I both have the flu, and we really appreciated the soup.  I thanked her profusely for it, and we will give her Mason jar back to her because she uses them for food storage and her situation is such that she couldn't afford to replace even one. 

Does anyone have any ideas what we could do for her?  I was thinking of getting a gift card to a local grocery store and mailing it to her anonymously.  There's one just a short distance from where she lives where she could use such a card for food or gas for her car, whatever she needed most.  I know that she wouldn't want to take it if I tried to hand it to her.  Or does anyone have a better idea?

Could you fill the mason jar with something?  you could even put the gift card in there with some cookies, so she wouldn't notice it right away to refuse to take it.  I don't know if this is just my family, but my grandma (and mom) always taught that you never return a container empty if you can help it.  In later years when she wasn't well Grandma used to buy candy to put in containers when she couldn't send home baked goods.  She said she just didn't feel right sending back containers empty.

You know, that's a thought.  She eats a lot of rice, and I have a bag of rice I could give her that way.  I gave her two containers of oatmeal a few months ago when I was making cookies and there was a special and I ended up with way more than we'd ever eat.  Since she's the type of person who would give someone else her shirt if they needed it we want to do something for her, especially since we know that she's really hurting for money right now.  The problem is, we're still sick and I don't know when I'll get to the store.  But I also know her situation isn't going to go away any time soon, so even if I don't get to the store until later in the week she'll still be able to use a gift card.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2009, 09:15:04 PM »
These stories are great! However, I think some are missing the point. If you were given something or treated kindly, how was it then paid forward? :)

I took the mention of "paying it forward" to refer to the posters' writing from the perspective of being a recipient of the "paid forward" act of kindness (i.e. the helpful stranger is "paying forward" for kindness done to them in the past).

It could very well be.  But, how cool would it be if the poster would then pay their kindness forward as well?  After all, that's the true concept of "pay it forward"!

Oh, I'm not denying that. I think we're all ready to pay it forward, but the opportunity to do so may not have yet arisen for many of us. I just didn't feel people were necessarily "missing the point" in their posts.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2009, 09:45:10 PM »
Paying it forward... the acts of kindness done by strangers. I'm delighted to share in this thread my experience with other people. Perhaps I'll share the right story about paying it forward myself, but maybe we're paying it forward here. Because we're sharing that experience with other people and maybe inspire someone else to act from what we have had happen in our lives.
Just my little thought on the topic.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2009, 05:39:56 AM »
My father has a giant heart.  We knew if someone was standing by the road with a broken down car, Dad will always stop.  Sometimes, it was just to give the car a jump.  Other times, he would bring back gas.  Or he would give them rides to their next location.  That's just my dad.

One night, my sisters and I were on the highway when our car broke down.  A very nice man stopped on the highway and said he couldn't let us girls walk on the side of the road (pre-cell phone).  So he gave us a ride to the nearest gas station.  We agreed it was years of Dad's generosity being paid back.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2009, 06:44:29 AM »
Another one, this time done for my sisters: back in, oh, 1990, Mt. Redoubt in Alaska blew its top just in time for the holidays.  My sisters, who were coming home from college for Christmas, got stuck in the Seattle airport.  Sis2 remembered that a girl in her choir lived in Seattle, and so they tried calling her.  Upon hearing about their predicament, this girl's dad immediately drove to the airport, picked up my sisters, and took them home.  They slept there, and in the morning, the dad took them back to the airport, where they got on a standby list and waited.  My dad wired them some money so they'd be able to get food at the airport.  Come evening, no flight had been available, so they called their friend, whose dad again came and picked them up at the airport and took them home.  They did this for three days, and not once did the friend's family act like my sisters were an imposition so close to Christmas.  Finally, my sisters caught a flight home.  After that, my mom got a huge gift box full of Alaskan seafood products (and those things are expensive, yo) and had it sent to the friend's family.  They said to that, "Drop in again anytime!"
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #50 on: March 13, 2009, 01:22:09 PM »
My dad has always been the 'help someone when you can' type - having been a mechanic for years, he was endlessly fixing other peoples' cars and changing flat tires. He always told people just to pay it forward when they could. About fifteen years ago, he hurt his back, and now has a multi-level spinal fusion - no more changing flats and such for him.

The year after his surgery, I was on my way to work after a nail appointment with a friend from work. We had the same boss, who had a big crush on my friend. She was one tardy away from being fired - nothing my supervisor could do, since we were in a call center and time was tracked to the second. We were a few blocks from work, in a busy industrial part of town, and I got a flat tire just as the road narrowed from three lanes to two. I was at the end of that lane that was ending, being passed by cars going 50 miles an hour or more, as well as large trucks full of crushed rock and gasoline tankers. She called our supervisor, and he came out and picked HER up - and left me to my own devices, as I wasn't due at work for another half hour.

I couldn't call my dad, and was nervous about getting out there and changing the tire, which was on the driver's side and would have left me exposed to the traffic. As I am standing next to the car on the should, contemplating what to do, an old beat-up pickup truck, with fishing poles in the back, stops in the road behind my car. An older gentleman, and his six or seven year old grandson, get out, and with his help we get my tire changed safely. The spare, though, was also flat! He offered to follow me to the nearest gas station, about a half mile up the road, and filled the tire for me. I offered him money for his trouble, or at least to pay for the air machine, but he refused, and after a quick thank you for them both they got back in their truck and went off, I hope to catch some giant fish. They were my angels!

I've changed flat tires for several friends since then, and had to change my own once or twice. Never have forgot that sweet man and his grandson, though. Dad said it was his karma coming back around to him - he couldn't have done the job himself, but someone else showed up to do it for him. :-)


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #51 on: March 13, 2009, 02:19:13 PM »
One summer morning, not too long after moving to the middle of nowhere to live with my then-DF (now DH), I was driving to work on one of the few days we didn't carpool.  All by myself at 6am, I turned a newly-graveled corner a bit too quickly in my pickup, slid, overcorrected & ended up in a ditch.  The truck was stuck, but I was only 2 miles from home.  As I started to grab a spare pair of shoes (because my high heels would NOT make it those 2 miles), a neighbor I'd never met turned the corner in his truck.  He stopped, told me that he wasn't able to pull my truck out (they were both 2WD), but he could give me a ride.  Since then-DF was already at work, I asked him to drive me an extra 1/4 mile down the road to DF's parents house, where now-MIL got their big truck & helped me pull mine out.

Just this winter, I got to pay it forward - we got a very thin sheet of ice all over everything (turned my hour-long commute into 3).  While trying two different routes to safely get my car to the state highway, I was able to pick up two different neighbors (one on each route!) whose vehicles had gotten stuck.  It made me feel warm and fuzzy - even when I had to leave my car at home & drive the Beast 4WD truck to work!
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #52 on: March 13, 2009, 02:56:25 PM »
October 2003, Cleveland OH: My favourite band reunited and went on tour.  All their shows sold out within seconds but I got a ticket for their show in Cleveland.  I insisted on going by myself (from Toronto, ON) because it was my lifelong dream to see this band and didn't want anybody tagging along on my dream.  ;)

I went to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and met a security guard there. When I told him my story (by myself, from Canada, making my lifelong dream come true) he gave me his phone number and told me to call him in the morning. When I called him the next day (after an AWESOME concert - I ended up in the third row!!) he met me for breakfast.  He bought me breakfast, gave me a little souvenir candle from the Rock Hall gift shop, took me to the big tourist-y mall and then to the Hard Rock Cafe and bought me lunch (along with my first Hurricane glass), drove me to the bus terminal and saw me safely onto the bus home.

That's only one story about nice things that happened to me on that trip.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #53 on: March 14, 2009, 05:22:51 AM »
Mine will be 2 years from the 13 the of June. My BIL had just passed away from cancer on the 12th. I was being the strongng one for my husband and my inlaws and my own kids who just had their first experience with death and were not  handling it well. I was asked by my husband to please go to wally world and pick up a specific flowering plant and a tree that he wanted to create a mini memorial garden at his parents house (with their okay) as there would be no burial. I get into the middle of the garden section and can't for the life of me remember the stupid name of the tree they wanted. I stood there crying just so upset that I couldnt rememmber the one thing my husband said I could do for him and his family, I called them in tears and my dad (okay hubby's dad) said and Ill never forget "Honey dont cry about it its just a tree" and then told me he loved me and just drive home safe (their home as we moved in with them for about 3 weeks to help out per their and hubby's request) and I drove home twice a day 1 hr each way to take care of my pets). Well once I had the name of the tree I went back to looking and couldnt find the type of tree I was bawling again, a nice employee came over asked if I was okay and I broke down told her no, my bil had just died my husband and his family were devestated my daughters were hurt beyond belife and I was there to buy a tree and they didnt have it and I still had to go and pick out clothes for the viewing. Well she helped me get the flowering plant loaded into a cart told me she'd keep it in garden cash register adn come back when I was done and she'd help me load it in my van. By the time I had gotten back she had spent time calling around to nurseries and gardening stores int eh area and located me one of these trees and they had it sitting at the store on a cart waiting for me to pick up.

Ive also had a really rough patch financially for a while, on June 12th of this year I will graduate from college and I wanted to find this little cockatiel pin (type of bird) to wear on my robe, on internet site that I belong to when mentioning it gave me some ebay links I thanked them and told the person i'd have to check ebay in a few months when I had some cash. Well two weeks later I was sent an email that they wanted to send me a card to my addy and could they have my address) I gave it to them and low and behold is my silver cockatiel pin that I will wear in honor of my bil on my graduation day (college) and in honor of their kindness.

I pay it forward by passing on my kids clothes to children who need them, just this year I passedon 4 winter coats to kids without, my mom (my mother) made hats for al the preschoolers in my student teaching class since most didnt have them. Ive handed money to strangers who has had trouble in the gas station or grocery line.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #54 on: March 14, 2009, 10:54:08 AM »
I was nineteen years old when I and my roommate drove from Memphis to Birmingham, Alabama to rescue another friend who was in a bad relationship.  My Subaru Justy needed new brakes in the worst way, and we barely had any money between the three of us.  It was around ten o'clock at night when we had to stop on the way back to Memphis to let our friend's puppy out to do her business.  We were at a chicken place somewhere in Alabama.  There we were, the three of us, in combat boots and leather, piercings and strange hair, counting our change for a biscuit for the pup, when the manager came around the counter to speak with us.  He wanted to know why we looked so forlorn, and what had happened to our friend (bruises around her eyes and mouth, obviously having been crying, etc.).  We told him everything, including the fact that my car's front calipers were scoring the rotors every time I braked.  He came out to the car and met the pup, too.

Well, that manager - a complete stranger, no less - gave us all the chicken and biscuits he had on hand, at no charge, and directed us to a place where a friend could fix my brakes - for nothing.  It was like a miracle, and I think it was my very first experience with a stranger's generosity and kindness.  The manager allowed as to how he hoped someone would do the same for HIS daughter, if ever she needed it.

Now, I've posted before about my own random acts of kindness, and I truly believe my desire to help others was spawned by a fast-food restaurant manager's interest and care on that hot, desperate night somewhere in Alabama.  I'm still payin' it forward, Mr. Gold!
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #55 on: March 15, 2009, 05:25:49 PM »
I've got a 'Pay it Forward' story about myself...

I was flying from Toronto to California to go on a ski weekend to Mammoth with some friends.  Long story short:  we deplaned back into the boarding lounge in Toronto at about the original time we were to have landed in LA.

Most of us couldn't get flights until two days later.  That was too late for me to meet my friends so I just got my money back.  As we were standing around in the baggage area waiting for our luggage, I went to the manager there and had him announce that I was heading back to Barrie if anyone wanted/needed a ride.  Turns out there was an independent film festival in Barrie that weekend and a small time producer was heading home to LA after his film aired.  Rather than stay in Toronto with the delay, he rode back to Barrie with me that night and stayed for another night of film festival.  And I had company for a 2:00 am run up the 400 in pouring rain.

Edited for spelling.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 09:05:59 AM by Outdoor Girl »
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #56 on: March 15, 2009, 07:29:23 PM »
I did something good about a week ago.

I was driving to go pick up a friend and tootle around town for awhile - he gets lonely and needs someone to talk to.  On the on-ramp to the freeway, there was a car with a hood up and 3 little old ladies standing outside, waving their hands. I pulled over to the side, put my blinkers on and approached them.  They had a flat.

So, Lady1 was getting the jack going (for elderly people, they were pretty energetic!) and they already had the spare donut tire out.  Once the car was up a bit, I tried getting the nuts loosened so we could get the tire off, but dang they were tight. I used my foot for torque to get one nut off, but it wasn't going to be easy for me.  So I went to the on-ramp and started waving around, pointing at trucks with people I thought might be strong enough.  One pulled over for helping us.

So we got the nuts off, but the jack fell over and the car went back down....grr.  I got my car jack out of my trunk, we used 2 jacks to put the car up, put a rock behind a wheel and started over again. Lady1 was back at the jack, furiously working on it! Lady2 wanted to put the flat in the trunk, but she was rolling it down on the side where cars were at.  I picked it up and put it away for her.

Finally, the spare was done, and ready to go. Mr. Van-help guy left, we all told him thank you very much!! 

The ladies wanted to drive off with the spare tire. I told them (their language was not English) they needed to go to a tire shop HERE. They said, "We drive to Btown!" (30 miles away on I-5). I said, "No, very bad! You get it fixed here! I will take you."  So, I called my buddy and told him I was running late, helping some people out.  I then drove slowly to the closest tire shop (Les Schwab, they take good care of people) and the ladies followed me there. Told the tire guy what had happened, and he inspected the tire- it was busted. Sidewall was torn. 

The ladies kept asking me if I had change for a hundred dollar bill, how could they pay me back? I just said, help someone else who needs it.

I left with a big smile, knowing I helped someone who needed it.


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #57 on: March 22, 2009, 12:38:16 AM »
I was a city kid born and bred. My only experience with "flyover country" was - yup - looking down on it from an airplane.

I drove from Portland, OR to NE Colorado to go to school, in 1979. I had two trunks, two cat-carriers, and my large dog with me in my '63 VW Beetle. It was winter. It began to snow heavily, so we stopped in Rawlins, Wyoming for the night.

We set off again the next morning. The weather had cleared, but the freeway had about 5 inches of packed snow on it. I tootled along at about 20 mph, until I came up behind a semi doing about 5. I started to slow down, but began to fishtail. When it became obvious that my choices were to rear-end the truck, crash into the berm on the right, or roll over when I slid off the road to the left, I let go of the steering wheel, and ran off the road down into the median.

I pushed open the car door - the snow was about a foot and a half deep - and looked back towards Rawlins, wondering how long it would take me to walk there and get help.

A pickup going east pulled to a stop. A pickup going west pulled up and stopped. Out of each truck clambered a tall man in cowboy boots, Levis, and a ten-gallon hat. Without saying much, they get me back into my car and pushed me back onto the highway.

That's only the first of many good deeds done for me in flyover country, like the Highway Patrol officer that changed a tire for me, and the 3 strangers that helped push our car out of the mud, messily, in the rain, when DH and I was driving back east to my mother's funeral. (I hit standing water on the freeway and spun out off the road down an embankment.)

I love flyover country. I live in it now, and I married me a Montana man. We try to live up to that neighborly tradition, though it mostly consists of telling people their cows are out!

Oh... once I noticed several bicyclists standing around someone on the ground, on the frontage road, and I pulled off at the next exit to see if they needed help. Turned out that some <expletive deleted> had driven into his bike and sped off. He wasn't badly hurt and they wouldn't let me call an ambulance, but he accepted a ride to the urgent care clinic.
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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #58 on: March 22, 2009, 10:11:42 AM »
Three years ago, I was skiing and someone ran into me from behind.  The other person got up and skied off without saying anything, but I could tell I wouldn't be able to because of a shooting pain behind my knee.  DH was too far away to do anything other than start walking back up to me, but he was probably about a hundred yards downhill from me and it was going to be awhile.  I started to cry because I couldn't even get up, and a very nice couple stopped and asked if I was okay.  I said I couldn't get up, and the guy said, I'll get help, and the lady said, I'll stay with you until the ski patrol comes.

The ski patrol did come and dragged me off the mountain on one of those stretchers attached to a snow mobile (which is not as fun as it looks or sounds).  After a trip to the ER, it turned out I had a partially torn ligament, so no more skiing for me that year.

Now, I'm skiing again, and when I see someone that has fallen, I ALWAYS stop, and try to collect anything they may have lost on the way, poles, skis, whatever.

The last time DH and I went skiing this year, I saw a father and a son on the bunny slope, and it was pretty obvious that neither knew what they were doing.  The father dropped his pole, and when tried to pick it up, his son started going down the hill and fell into the snow at the edge of the hill.  The father panicked, and trying to turn towards his son, started going down the hill and couldn't stop.  I went over, picked the kid up, and held his hand until we got to the bottom, where the father thanked me profusely (and hopefully went to sign up for some lessons!).


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Re: "Paying it forward"....acts of kindness done for you by strangers
« Reply #59 on: March 22, 2009, 10:41:23 AM »
The guys at my shop have been great about supporting little fundraisers of mine. One of them fell and fractured an ankle several weeks ago. Well, it hasn't healed properly and he had surgery to put in screws for it. I don't have a car and he lives over in Cambridge. But I got to tag team with a friend from work the day of the surgery. I made several easy to heat up meals, took them to work and handed them over to my friend who was finishing his shift.
He promptly drove out to Cambridge and dropped them off for our poor patient. (Surgery was in the morning and they sent him home that afternoon). I heard that the surgery went well and he loved the food!