Hello blog readers! Jeff Havens here! Amanda has a fun story to tell so I’m handing the blog over to her so she can share 10 easy ways to pay it forward, enjoy!
A few weeks ago I was having a crappy morning. My 11-year-old dog has become unexpectedly ill in the kind of way that made me wonder if her time was soon approaching, and the thought was more than a little depressing. Deep in my malaise, I found a shining beacon of hope that might just possibly salvage the day – a Dunkin Donuts. I got in line at the drive-through and ordered my usual iced coffee and Boston cream donut, which is so delicious the Taliban would probably make it illegal. When I got up to pay the cashier, it went something like this:
Cashier: The person in front of you paid for your coffee and donut!
Me: BWAAHH!?! (I make a lot of weird noises.)
Cashier: That’s right! Pay it forward!
Me: That is so awesome!! Wow!
Meanwhile my brain was on fire. “This is my lucky day! That was so insanely nice…What should I do? Should I pay for the person behind me? No, I need to do something better! What if I put change in all of the parking meters? What if I left $20 on a stranger’s car? What if I adopt an orphan? What if I start an orphanage?!!! Oh crap, I’m blocking traffic… need to drive away now!”
So I drove away, feeling good about the happy karma I was about to spread around.
Until later that evening when my husband came home and I told him all about my pay it forward experience and how excited I was to do something awesome. THAT conversation went something like this.
Husband: You should have paid for the person behind you. That’s how it works. Those “pay it forward” things can go on for hours and hours!
Me: I thought about that but I wanted to do something BETTER! Like save orphans!
Husband: Yeah, but you broke the chain.
Me: I what?
So I Googled “pay it forward” and found stories like this: Starbucks ‘Pay It Forward’ Streak Lasts 11 Hours in Florida
If you read the story, you’ll have noticed that several people in the comments are asking who the jerk is who broke the 11-hour chain. It was me. I broke the pay it forward streak. As you can see, I am a bad person. But I hope to redeem myself. So, consider this your public service announcement! If you’re in a drive-through line and someone pays for your food, please pay for the person behind you!
In fact, I propose the new rule of pay it forward be that not only should you pay for the person behind you, but you should also do two more good deeds within the next 48 hours.
To get you started, here are 10 simple ways to pay it forward:
1. When you are at the grocery store and they ask you to donate to a cause, say yes!
And if you get to write your name on a piece of paper to hang up in the store, put “The guy who bought my coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Pay it forward!” instead of your own name.
2. Leave candies on your coworkers desks with notes that say ‘pay it forward’.
Or healthy snacks if they’re on a diet. And if that’s the case, you should also give them a hug, because no one likes diets.
3. If you travel for work, collect the hotel toiletries and donate them.
Places like women’s shelters and Ronald McDonald Houses will take them and use them for people in need. Besides, this is a ‘pay it forward’ scheme that will also allow you to feel just a tiny little bit like a thief. You aren’t stealing, but it’ll feel that way. Who knew being bad could be so good?
4. Leave your server a big tip and write ‘pay it forward’ on the receipt.
It’ll make up for an entire day of getting stiffed by teenagers or getting 35 cents from old people who still think you can buy something with pocket change.
5. Send a friend a gift card via Facebook.
You can do that, you know!
6. Call your grandma.
You should be doing this anyway but I know you need a reminder.
7. Put change in the parking meters.
This is becoming more difficult since a lot of parking meters now only take credit cards, but you could also leave a pile of change on a street corner whenever you see a parent walking toward you with their kids. Odds are those kids are going to need all the help they can get paying for college.
8. Tell someone you work with how important they are to you.
Sometimes the best gifts aren’t tangible, and all of us could stand to hear that kind of thing a little more often than we do.
9. Offer to help someone move.
Extra points if you do this and don’t demand free beer or pizza during the move itself. But either way, you’ll be endearing yourself to someone for the rest of their life.
10. Share this blog post!
In order for this to work we need to spread the word, so post this on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – anywhere people can see it!
I hope this blog has inspired you to make the world a better place, one small good deed at a time!