Friday, July 22, 2011

Pay It Forward

Although our lives take crazy turns every now and again, it's nice to know that you are surrounded by people who just simply, unconditionally love and support you, no matter what. 

I'm one of the lucky ones.  I've had truly incredible people bless me, by allowing me to share/walk in their journey with them, most of my life.  People who will turn their world upside down, to be there for me.  I cannot tell you how that makes me feel.  It's truly an incredible rush to know that you matter that much to those around you.  I suppose that's why I always reach out to others, whether I know them or not.  As a human being it should be our job to support one another in any way we can. 

My friend Danny once told me that he makes it his mission to make at least one person smile every day.  It could be a gesture, a kind word, supporting someone or even giving them a pep talk.

 I remember walking along King Street ( in Toronto) one cold winter day.  He and I walked arm in arm, when we came across a woman, who sadly had made a heating vent on the corner of King and Jarvis Street, her home.  We stopped to give her some change and ended up staying for a little while, because Danny had engaged in some conversation with her.  The woman was incredibly upbeat considering she was homeless, but her eyes revealed the pain she so well hid otherwise.  Our conversation ended, we bid her a good day and began walking away.

On our way back home we took the same route.   All of the sudden Danny stopped off at a corner store.  He told me to wait here a moment and that he would be right back.  When he came out, he had a flower in his hand.  Naturally, I thought it was for me.  However, Danny had other intentions.

As we waked by the woman we had spoken to earlier, Danny stopped and knelt down to address the woman, who was now lying down.  She immediately sat up and smiled at us both.  Danny gave her the flower.  It was a beautiful rose in full bloom.  He told the woman that he couldn't get her beautiful eyes out of his mind all afternoon.  He told her that they were the most beautiful pair of eyes he had ever seen.  Danny then gave her the rose and said:  A beauty for a beauty.  I thought it was the most incredible thing I had ever witnessed.  Tears slowly fell from my eyes as I watched her face light up like a Christmas tree.

Here is a man that for no reason, stopped his day and his life, for just a moment to make someone feel worthy, special and happy just because.  There was no rhyme or reason for it.  It was just a simple gesture of kindness.  He taught me a lot during the times we spent together.

There have been many other moments, and many other people who are all responsible for shaping my life and how I treat others.  I am truly grateful to them all. 

Today, I was given a flower by someone simply because they thought it would cheer me up and make me smile.  A simple gesture done out of the blue, for no other reason or intention except to make me feel good about who I was.  Something to make my day a little brighter.  It reminded me of that story of the homeless woman, so I thought I would share it with all of you, in hopes that you can take something away from this blog and apply it in your every day life.

Perhaps we should all begin to "pay it forward".  To do things for others (whether we know them or not) simply because we can.  Simply because it will make another person smile.  Imagine all the good we could do in this world.  Something to think about....isn't it?

Always be kinder than necessary just because....

So, what little, simple acts of kindness can we do to pay it forward today?

put a quarter in a meter, any meter, that’s about to expire

leave a copy of a really great book you’ve read in a cafe for someone else to enjoy

be nice to the customer service people who are trying to help you with your technological difficulties

tip your restaurant server generously

thank the cooks, waitstaff and bussers personally

say something nice or funny or goofy to the toll booth attendant (like, “Don’t drive too fast, now” or “Glad to have encountered you today”, or something less hokey)

forgive a driver directing road rage at you

buy or pack a meal for a homeless person (or give him/her your to-go box from a restaurant)

give a warm coat to a homeless person

offer to do pro bono work on a project where your skills are needed

mentor someone

make a donation

say a prayer or whisper a kind wish for someone

compliment a stranger

send a box of donuts or bagels or muffins to a construction site

next time you leave a foreign country, give all or some of what’s left of your currency to someone who resides in that country

next time you’re at the airport, offer to pull the bags belonging to a woman or a mother with child out of the conveyor belt

praise generously

give local tips (re: restaurants, sights, etc.) to a tourist

show respect equally to all human beings

put a tip in a street musician’s jar

let someone cut in front of you at the grocery store

tell a funny joke to a stranger

give someone a chance to prove him or herself

encourage someone to pursue their dream

allow someone to let his or her light shine

show support to an artist or writer or musician

hold the door open for someone

tip a cab driver generously

teach a child something you wish you knew at that age

smile at someone who’s sad

smile at strangers

offer sincere, kind words to someone who’s hurting

visit a hospice and spend some time with a terminally ill patient

volunteer at a battered women’s shelter

spend some time with a senior citizen living alone

give up your seat on a crowded bus or train or ferry

inspire someone to be the best that they can be

give someone the benefit of the doubt

offer to babysit for a single mother

offer the FedEx, UPS or DHL delivery person something to drink especially on a warm day

help a pregnant lady

sit and talk with a homeless person and learn their story

loan something to someone and forget about it

contribute to a friend’s child’s education fund

give blood

show respect to a soldier regardless of your pacifism

donate to or volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation

replace an angry or bitter thought toward someone with a loving thought (or at least try)

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