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True Story: My Pay It Forward Experience

My Pay It Forward Experience

A week before Christmas I pulled up to the drive thru at Starbucks. The horrific tragedy of Sandy Hook was still fresh on my mind. I felt the need to do something kind, something unexpected to a stranger.

I instantly thought of a kind gesture: I would purchase the car behind me their coffee. As the car line slowly crept, I rethought my idea. Would the person behind me appreciate it? They seemed to be driving some big fat luxury SUV, and most certainly didn’t appear to be in the need of someone else to purchase their coffee. Maybe instead I should purchase and deliver a coffee to the homeless man that I often see near the metro station. I was torn.

At last I reached the cashier and handed her my credit card to pay for my coffee and she says, “No worries m’am, the person in front of you already bought you your drink.” My heart melted. Although I can afford my own coffee, I was now the recipient of a pay it forward gesture from a complete stranger.

I had chills. It was an incredible feeling. I immediately told the cashier to use my credit card to purchase the drink of the driver in that SUV behind me. She smiled. I smiled back.

Have you ever payed it forward? How? Were your kids involved?

Visit back here tomorrow to learn how you can pay it forward by nominating a special 16-21 year old with an apprenticeship like no other! 

Read follow up post about how to Pay It Forward through the Coca-Cola Campaign earlier this year. 

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8 comments

  1. Teresa 15 January, 2013 at 12:06 Reply

    Hi Caroline!

    I almost always pay for the person behind me in line at Tim Horton’s (I’m Canadian). When new people are at the window they always ask “Do you know them?” but after I explain its a random act of kindness they think its a great idea.

    One day when I pulled up to the window the girl told me they had a sandwich and coffee that someone couldn’t pay for and asked me if I wanted it – for free! It made my day. Now I understand how it makes people feel to receive a small gesture of kindess and I want to do more.

  2. Heather 2 February, 2013 at 21:28 Reply

    I love this article. Paying it forward feels good in so many ways!

    I also love that you talked about something that I think we all think about: “does the other guy deserve it? Will he appreciate it?” I think those thoughts (fears?) are a natural human reaction, but part of the beauty of “paying it forward” is that the person forever remains anonymous. The beauty of that is that you get all the positives of giving plus you don;t have to concern yourself with the rest. If they truly appreciate it, someone else will benefit when THEY pay it forward.

    The simplicity of it is amazing

    • Caroline Murphy 2 February, 2013 at 21:34 Reply

      Yes!
      Too often people feel that paying It Forward, means to have good manners…holding the door open for someone, picking up something that fell. But to me, and i think to those who truly believe in the power of paying it forward, it’s to do something truly unexpected. Plus keeping yourself anonymous makes it more exciting.
      I payed it forward at Starbucks again on Friday. I was having a rotten morning so I headed to starbucks and instantly brought a smile to my face when I purchased the coffee for the gentleman in the car behind me.

  3. mark 8 April, 2013 at 01:11 Reply

    I PAID IT FOWARD ON A FEW OCCASIONS, BY GIVING A HOMELESS THE SHOES OFF MY FEET TO JUST THIS WEEKEND GIVING 25 bucks to a girl who was left in Whittier by a guy she flew all the way from Florida to see. She was misled on Facebook by this guy claiming that he loved her. I felt so bad for her that the only thing I could do to help more was rent her a room at a hotel so she wouldn’t have to sleep in streets. The next morning I came back to see on her and offer to buy her a ticket back home, but she was gone already. I often give free tows to those in need, and hopefully some day I will own my own tow truck. But I’m grateful that my field allows me to pay it forward to those in need.

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