Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pay It Forward

This is a true story that happend to me and my family last night, and I really need to share it with you all. It is kind of a long post, but I need to discribe the situation so you get the feel of it.

Well, the kids didn't have school since last Friday, and since Christpher has been sick, we couldn't go anywhere. It was the last night of the 4 day weekend, so, my husband and I decided to take them to IHOP (for those of you who live outside of the US... IHOP is a big chain restaurant that specializes in pancakes).

We got there, and as we were going in, an older couple came in from the parking lot. My husband, held the door open for them, and we exchanged smiles and we sat at our booth.

If you have been reading my blog for a while might guessed that since I love thrift stores and garage sales, I LOVE COUPONS. I had and ad for IHOP with coupons saying, "Buy one entree, second one free". Also, on the add, it said, "kids eat free with purchase of an adult entree". I was thinking, "hmm... which route will save us more money?" My math loving husband helped me calculate everything and came to the conlusion that if he and I order something for $12 or less each, two of the kids meals will be free and additional kids meal would be only 1.99. It is cheaper than, doing "buy one entree get second one free" and buying three kids meals at regular price. We were discussing this at the table.

Everytime we go to IHOP, not that often, we always get the same thing. We had nice chat with our waitress explaining that and wanted to try something new. We pointed out what we were looking at and got her opininons. We decided to go with her suggestions and try the new entrees.

I also asked her if I could exchange the buttermilk pancakes for sweedish pancakes. She told me that it will cost me additional $1.59, which would put my entree over $12. I said, "uh! no, I will stick with the plan, buttermilk pancake is fine."

While we were waithing for our food, as we always do, we talked, we laughed, and sometimes, we had to discipline our kids. For example, "Hey, cover your mouth when you cough", "Sit straight", "Don't kick your brother under the table". During this time we had a friendly talk with the older couple(wife) who sat the booth next to us for little bit too.

The wait was quite long, the kids were getting restless, but our food finally came. By this time the older couple, had finished eating and were ready to leave. The lady stood up and leaned over to us and said,"You have such well behaved children. You are doing such a wonderful job." the husband had very warm genuine smile on his face too. This was unexpected and caught us by suprise, we said, "Thanks" and smiled. Then, they left.

Wow, that is so nice of them, I thought. We try to raise our children to be nice, polite and cuuteous people, but as a parent, you never know if you are doing a good job or not. Perhaps, maybe, until they are all grown-up. It was so nice for this everyday worrier mom to hear. My husband and I talked about them how nice they were.

After a short while, our waitress came to our table, she had our bill in her hand. She said, "Well, your dinner is all taken care of."

"......."

My husband and I were looking at each other and didn't say anything. Well, I couldn't say anything. Later we conformed to each other, what went through in our minds at that moment.

I was thinking, "What? Did she just say what I just thoutght she said? (English is my secound langage and I can make mistakes) Maybe I heard wrong."

He was thinking, "What? What did she just say? Did we win something from IHOP for being like 100,000th customer or something? Oh Crap, We should have ordered more!"

Because we were frozen and didn't say anything, the waitress had to repeat like two or three more times. "Your dinner is all taking care of. Another costmer paid for it."

Wow... she never said who, but my husband and I felt that it must been that elderly couple that sat next to us. We were speechless for a while and that doesn't happen in our household... ever. My eyes starting to tear up. That was such a nice gesture.

It is easy to be nice to someone you love and know, but to be nice to a complete stranger takes a special kind of person.

I don't know why they decided to pay for our dinner, perhaps they felt bad for this coupon using couple and the wife who didn't even go for sweedish pancakes or maybe, they just love to hear our convasation and wanted to do something nice. We will never know.

But, they definately left an implessinon on our hearts. After what happend to us I have been thinking about "pay it forward". Because they did something nice to me, I will do something nice to several people, and hopefully, they will do the same. Not eveyone can afford to pay for someone's dinner, but small things like holding the door open for the people behind you or even just a smile and saying hello could lighten up someone's day.

If this chain of Pay it Forward keeps going, can you imagine how many people can be uplifted?

It may sound corny, but I like corny. Doesn't Pay it forward sound nice? Perhaps I should start with me.

44 comments :

  1. So nice! And if you were correcting your children in public that says a great deal about how you are paying attention. Good job.

    Our local Christian radio station is encouraging listeners to pay for the person's meal behind them in the drive-thru. You then leave a little note on a handout that explains you just wanted to brighten their day. It's a great way to do something unexpected for someone.

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  2. That is an amazing story. I can totally relate to not knowing if your dong your job as a parent. I know my kids can sometimes misbehave especialy the toddler. We had something similar happen while eating out, a nice older couple were sitting next to us and said " I must say your children are very well behaved, you dont see that too much anymore" Then he told us story about his children and grandchildren. That was good enough for me, but to have happen what happened to you would truley be inspiring. Paying it forward sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing your story.

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  3. I'm a habitual restaurant, drive-thru and gas station bandit. It's amazing seeing how many people you touch just by showing kindness to one complete stranger. I love being anonymous, because I like the recipients knowing that someone else in this world, who doesn't know them, cares about them. It's also fun seeing the faces of the clerks & waitresses when they realize you don't know them. It gives them a chance to see that there is still kindness out there...I only hope it rubs off and they pay it forward someday too. Beautiful post!

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  4. This is very sweet that this touched you in this way. I, feeling that not many at all who know me will read this, feel safe to post this here. I do this quite often myself. I do it as a simple act of kindness, love unattached to anything else, FREE - just like the life Christ Jesus gives to us. (of course it cost Him, but not us) Our church promotes random acts of kindness, we do not attach our name to it, simply "the Church" etc.. All good things come from Christ!

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  5. It was refheshing to hear your story!

    That was such a nice gesture, I also think "Pay it forward" is a great concept for adults but more so for kids. Though sometimes, we're too self absorbed to think of anyone else.

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  6. This happened to us once on a toll bridge. The person in front of us paid for us so we paid for the person behind us. I always wondered if the chain went through many more people. Thanks for sharing and do share how you pay it forward!

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  7. What a great story and I'm all in for pay it forward... Now your ball has already started rolling, just imagine how many people we can touch. You already mentioned so many super easy things we can do, things I'm sure that you like me already do, so now I'm going to think outside the box... Thanks for the inspiration! Theresa

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  8. I loved this post! What a lovely things to have done for you and your family! How sweet! Thank you for sharing!

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  9. That's a beautiful story! Isn't it nice to imagine that couple doing random acts of kindness like that all over the place, prompting others (like you) to do it too! I'll be on the look-out today for what I can do too now. Thanks for sharing

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  10. That was very cool. I am sure you were very surprised. As a mom of kids that I think act up in public it would have been enough to just know that my kids actually made someone else smile..they went above and beyond - probably because you all brought a bit of happiness into their life that night. Sometimes we forget that older people get lonely - they love to be around small children and most rarely get that opportunity. I am glad your family had the chance to make them happy and they did the same in return. It is a great world isnt' it?
    tammy

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  11. Wow! I have experienced some similar things. I know we had a waiter one time the was exceptionally kind and I felt compelled to least an extra extra tip. Something told me he could use it. If we all lived this way, imagine the difference that it could make. Thanks for sharing, and the reminder to all of us. Jackie

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  12. What a lovely story. First let me tell you that I love your blog, you are so creative!

    I also love to pay for the people behind me in the drive through line! Just every once in a while, & the kids love it!

    A few years ago I suffered from colon cancer and was very sick for nearly a year while I went through treatment. Even though we were lucky enough to have insurance, we were still left with hefty insurance bills. My children attend a private school & we were going to have to pull them out to attend a less expensive public school...someone showed up at my child's school & paid their tuition...$3000! I still do not know who did it, probably not a complete stranger, but WOW!

    A few more examples....

    I received a call when I was feeling better, someone had left $300 cash in an envelope with the local jazzercise studio for me to take jazzercise for a year!!

    & here is the topper...I got a call from my chemo nurse, a COMPLETE stranger gave my husband and I an all expense paid trip to Hawaii!! Just because of the way we handled our situation and some volunteer work I have done to help cancer patients in my area!!! It was the gift of a lifetime, we have been so blessed by the kindness of others. I only hope that I can make a small difference to someone & that I can teach my children the importance of "paying it forward!".

    Thank you for your wonderful story.

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  13. Very cool story. It really reminds you that there are people out there who just like to do nice things for others w/ no need for repayment or even acknowledgment. Beautiful!

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  14. That was awesome! I love pay it forwards. I once got a free coffee because someone put down a C-note and told the employees to use it til it was gone. Love it. I, then, paid for someone's bridge toll just because they were behind me. I need to do more of it......so rewarding.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  15. What a beautiful story - I love it! I think "pay it forward" is a beautiful sentiment :)

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  16. What a fabulous story! I totally agree and think it's a great state of mind.....and it goes back to the old saying of treat others the way you want to be treated. May be easier said than done, but it's what we try to do and what we continually tell our kids. Hopefully it will stick with them!

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  17. What a great story.. and nice gestures to happen. I was in line yesterday at Walmart and the line was long. The man behind me was older and we chatted.. I had a few items he had two. When it was my turn, I told the clerk to add it to my bill... it was easy and hopefully he'll pay it forward too.. Random acts of kindness... Let the Lord shine through you!! Thanks for reminding us doing something nice for someone else is what it's all about!.. and actually , I think I felt happier than he did... it felt great!

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  18. It is amazing you posted this, as I am on a mission to 'pay it forward' right now! Please check out my blog:

    http://imakestuff4fun.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-crafty-friends-please-help-me.html

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  19. What a great story, and so true...if things like this (starting with me) happened more, the world would definitely be a better place:). Thanks for sharing!

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  20. What a nice story!! I have personally been able to be the giver the recipient in many services, and it feels great to be in either seat. Thanks for sharing, it makes you remember that 99% of people are wonderful, kind hearted and Christ like.

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  21. Thanks for that. I cried! Always good to reminded about these ideals too!

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  22. How precious! I love the Pay It Forward idea. If everyone in the world was trying to do just that, the world would be a 100% better place :) Thank you for the reminder. I will be trying to pay it forward also!

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  23. I'm a huge believer in pay it forward! My wonderful best friend has been keeping my kids for me for the last 15 years. Never any question about what I was going to pay, how it's going to benefit her, or why she should do it. I am so unbelievably grateful for her generosity, but I know that I can never, ever "pay her back".

    7 months ago, she and her husband were blessed with their first baby, and, while I will never feel like I've made it up to her, at least I can feel like I'm paying it forward in a way. Not usually how it works, but very cool anyway.

    Of course, I've also tried to help out as many of my friends as I can, usually with babysitting, as our financial resources are rather limited. A few times, my friends have tried to pay me, and I was honestly horrified that they felt that way! I would so much rather them pay it forward in whatever way they can, making the world that much better =)

    I guess that was all to say that it's totally possible to pay it forward even if you have no money lol! Even complimenting someone, or just a simple smile and "Hello" can totally change a person's day for the better.

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  24. I love this! we once had our lunch paid for at a restaurant, and while we were sitting talking about it and being amazed, the man next to us went to pay his tab only to find out that the small restaurant didn't accept credit cards. It felt so good to us to be able to pay for his.

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  25. I love generosity, especially in this economy. Unexpected acts of service are so sweet and I can't imagine anyone more deserving than your family. I need to be more aware of the promptings of the Spirit and be more generous with my resources. Thank you for sharing this sweet story.

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  26. What a lovely story. It's amazing how much the little things are the big picture and the things we worry about don't even matter. Pay it forward is a great idea, loved the movie.

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  27. I had a similar situation, year's ago my husband had to work on my birthday, so I took the kid's to Marie Calendar's for dinner. We had an older couple sit by us and we exchanged smile's and hello's, the waiter's came out with pie and were singing happy birthday to me, it was so fun.When I went to pay the couple had paid for it all. I was so impressed by such a kind act that I too feel compelled to pay it forward.
    Love,Debbie

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  28. I am running a pay it forward on my blog and have 2 spots left... feel free to sign up and join in by putting on your own blog.... http://handmadebyauntyphyllis.blogspot.com/2010/02/playing-pay-it-forward.html
    Phillipa (Aunty Phyllis)

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  29. What a lovely story! So nice and unexpected - if only more would do even the small things you mentioned, the world would be a nicer place!

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  30. That's such a sweet story; thanks for sharing! I had something very similar happen to me a few months ago, and I too was staggered! Thanks for the reminder to "pay it forward"!

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  31. That’s a great story!

    I too was a receiver of a pay it forward act. I had someone I didn’t know pay for my toll one time. I drove up to drop my change in the bucket and the teller told me the person in front of me took care it it…..wow! I thought that was super sweet and a wonderful way to pay it forward without spending a ton. It happened a few years ago and I still think about it.

    Kendra

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  32. That's such a sweet story. I have also been the object of similar random acts of kindness recently. When my husband was in the ICU in a coma this past fall, I received several anonymous gifts. Once a friend (and I still don't know who) slipped $100 into my wallet!

    Since then I have made sure not to miss opportunities to pay it forward. Buying coffee for the stranger in line behind me; helping an elderly woman get her groceries in her car; making sure to compliment each and every one of my daughter's teammates on their playing after a game...

    Life's too short not to be kind.

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  33. That wasa a really sweet story, my husband and I were at lunch one day. He is a police officer and they wanted to let us know how much they appreciate everything he does for our community and the sacrifices he makes everyday. Of course I just teared up, because i never worrie about the job he does, it is just something he loves to do. He is such a gentle giant and loves taking care of someone in need.

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  34. Such a nice story! It brought tears to my eyes too :)

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  35. What a touching story especially in the world we live it today!! How sweet and what an incredible surprise. I love the challenge. Thanks for sharing and most of all for touching my heart!!

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  36. Oh, what a beautiful story! I am so glad that someone reminded you and your sweet hubby about how great you are and your kids are! What a sweet blessing for you!!!! I miss you!

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  37. Maybe I'm hormonal but you made me cry. I like the idea of the drive thru too. Simple acts of kindness that are done in secret are special and fun. Thanks for sharing.

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  38. Thanks for sharing your nice story!! I bet that couple smiled all night! Everyone should Pay It Forward!

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  39. Love your blog, what a great story! And because of reading your post I was able to check out another commentors blog (Alida) and have discovered a way that maybe I can "Pay it Forward" too. :o)

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  40. Love it! That is why I started Mommy The Marketer..it is my small way of "Paying it Forward". I don't have a lot of money to give with two kids..but I have my time and can help someone else the best I can ;) Thanks for this lovely post.

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  41. One thing that's really fun to do is to purchase a gift card for Starbucks or another coffee venue, and then to have the cashier ring up the next customers using it, without telling anyone who you are. Then you can sit back and watch stunned customers walk away with free coffee. It's one of the most fun things to do, and restores a little hope that kindness isn't lost.

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  42. what a beautiful, inspiring post. Thank you for sharing!

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