Q Back when the toll for crossing the bridges was $1, I would often pay for the car behind me. It happened to me once and it was such a nice feeling I wanted to share that feeling over and over.
So when my daughter was younger we would go out for a meal. More than once I would pay the bill for an elderly person eating alone. We would tell the waiter not to disclose who paid their bill. My daughter absolutely loved watching their reaction, and I loved watching her. She did a lot of volunteer work during her high school and college years, her way of paying it forward.
A Of course she did. She had a great role model.
Q Someone else's pay it forward is now my pay it back. I was having trouble starting my car in the Fry's Sunnyvale parking lot. After the third crank, I was resigned to trying a push start it (dark gray Honda hatchback, in case my guardian angel is reading). Instead, a young man in a pickup offered me a jump. I gladly accepted, and he left with my thanks and his smile.
It became my obligation to help at least two others because of his kindness. So a while ago, I was driving home and exited University Avenue at Highway 101 when I saw a man trying to change a tire. I heard his lug wrench slip off, so I pulled into the parking lot. My turn to offer some help; the lug nuts were tight, the lug wrenches supplied with a car are short, I keep a long-handled lug nut wrench in my tools. The wheel came off, he put his spare on and we're off on our separate ways.
One more obligation to go, so no name please or the magic won't work.
A Of course.
Q We were driving home from L.A. on Interstate 5 and stopped at the Starbucks off Laval Road just after the Grapevine. Going through the long drive through queue we get to the window and the cashier says, "The car in front paid for your order. Would you like to pay it forward to the next car?"
Thinking that was such a great gesture, we did. Driving home, I wondered how many cars ahead of us that pay-it-forward string started and how many cars behind us did it last. It made the drive on I-5 bearable knowing a good deed was done to you and that you're doing one as well.
A And ...
Q As I was walking my dog one day, I spotted a wallet in the middle of the street. I picked it up and astonishingly found it full of credit cards, loyalty cards and cash. From the driver's license, I found a name and address, but no phone number. A son of someone I called did call back very shocked, as he did not even know he had lost his wallet.
He identified it by his rather odd middle name, and I agreed to drop it in a flower pot on his mom's front porch. He told me to take some cash for a reward. I said, "No thanks, just pay it forward." The next morning, I received a text: "Thank you so much. I definitely will pay it forward."
A And so the circle continues.