This past week was a tough one for me. I had a head cold which made my head feel like Barry Bonds must feel like after the steroid use overinflated his noggin. In addition, my son had some tests done that were stressful. Lastly, there was great frustration (usually just frustration) regarding work this week. So, by the time the end of the week rolled around, I was anxious for the weekend. However, there were some silver linings along the way.
Remember the movie Pay it Forward? The movie which was based on a novel came out in 2000. The premise of the movie was to do kind deeds for others as a way of paying back someone who did something kind for you. So, this way you are paying it forward with the hope that one kind deed will lead to more and make the world a happier place. A bit corny – maybe – but the basic premise of doing kind things for others without expecting something in return other than them doing something kind for a third person is cool. While the movie did only mediocre at the box office, the term seems to have lived on.
In fact, the term came to me when I heard a news story last month. Apparently people were paying off the layaway bills of strangers at Kmart stores in a number of states including Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Montana. The disc jockey who noted this story was cynical and thought it was suspicious that it was just Kmart and suspected it was some sort of promotion. Sad – some people can observe kindness and not even recognize it. Anyway, maybe those Secret Santas, as they called themselves, were just paying it forward.
The silver linings in an otherwise dreary week were both examples of kindness to a stranger. I’ve had multiple dealings with a connection through an acquaintance that I never see. This woman, who doesn’t know me from Adam, has gone out of her way to assist me in something that has no benefit to her. She emails back in minutes and apologizes for not doing more. I just hope my thank you came off sincerely enough and that I could help her or another in some way. Secondly, while powerwalking through Port Authority Friday morning, my briefcase somehow came open and my computer along with a bunch of papers fell out. As I stooped down to pick everything up, a man came by, offered assistance, provided it even though I said, “it’s okay,” and said, “happens to all of us, have a good weekend.” As he walked off – I didn’t even see his face – I was struck by how kind his act was and it made me want to do something nice for someone. I was inspired.
These two random acts of kindness helped save me from one of those weeks. Maybe those people were just paying it forward. Either way, maybe I should continue the kindness – it would be nice to be the highlight of someone else’s week and lift them up.
Hopefully you’re son’s testing went well.
Thanks – I hope so too.
Nice entry. I remember a couple of winters ago, I was stuck deep in the snow near Jewish Theological Seminary, on 121st Street and Broadway. I had gone there during a workday to return a videotape my agency had used for an event. Now, I could not get out of the snow drift for the life of me. My wheels turned and burned rubber to no avail.
Then– (OK, I know this is Larry’s blog, not mine, but I am really inspired to tell this story) — then a guy in the car in front of mine came over with a shovel and spent the next half hour digging me out! A half hour! He told me to get in the car and just pump the gas, which I did, and finally I got traction, sped out of the spot, and almost killed him. He didn’t seem to care much, though, and just smiled and walked away. I couldn’t believe this guy did this for me, and still remember it whenever I feel cynical about human nature.