Paying it forward is the kind of activity that has a ripple effect and not only feels good to the recipient, but also to the anonymous giver! Typically, these types of acts don’t have to be grand, expensive, time-consuming gestures, but small, spontaneous acts.
I have always loved practicing ‘paying it forward’; whether it was paying for someone’s coffee or leaving a penny heads up for the next person to pick up to have a great day, as it always gave me a charge to know that one small gesture can potentially make someone’s day.
Years ago, I read a book by an author I absolutely love- The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. You may have read some of her books, as she has written several, including some well-known children’s books. Sadly, Amy passed away in 2017 after battling ovarian cancer. She left behind a legacy of kindness, laughter, joy, and ‘paying it forward’. She truly was a remarkable human being, and I highly recommend any and all of her books.
In one of the chapters, Amy talks of leaving behind an envelope containing a note, some loose change, and a stamped postcard addressed to her PO box for a random stranger to discover. She claims to not necessarily have done it for purely altruistic reasons, but to inject some morsel of suspense into her week. This is what the note looked like:
After reading this, I decided to do this with my 2 daughters and a few of my friends, as well. We opened up a PO box and went to work- leaving postcards with random change ($1.58, $2.60, etc.) around town. We got many of them back with great stories, one of them was from someone who was short money for a train ticket and they were now able to purchase one.
Another was a funny situation was when my daughter left one of these envelopes in our hometown, and her friend happened to have found it (not knowing my daughter was the one who left it). Her friend wrote a postcard that we received telling us how she found the money, was super hungry, and bought herself a hot dog! We had quite a laugh at this act of serendipity.
I decided to resurrect Amy’s ‘Pay-it-Forward-Postcard-Note’ here in our own hometown of Scottsdale. What a rush I felt when leaving behind a note, either on the LOVE statue in the Civic Center Mall, in Sky Harbor airport, or in between the pages of a magazine! I knew that in some way, I made someone smile and perhaps helped his or her day.
I invite my readers to either copy this or embark on their own ‘Pay It Forward’ act and feel what it’s like to know that you have positively impacted someone else and that this may lead to that glorious ripple effect.
*Here are a few sites to check out related to this wonderful practice of kindness and paying it forward:
I would love to know what my readers are the most interested in reading about. Feel free to drop me a line telling me what interests you most. Do you have something really interesting you would like me to share? I would love to hear about it!
-Susan Ginsberg, Stop and Breathe