Paying It Forward: A Mantra For 2012, For Life
Last night was New Year’s Eve and I needed to run a few errands before our guests came and we settled in for the countdown to midnight. It also happened to be one of my favourite shopping days at one of my favourite retailers Shoppers Drug Mart—20x Optimum Points. I was pumped.
As I stood in line waiting my turn (the line was at least 15 people deep), I noticed a man come in and stand at the register chatting amiably with the sales associate. What also caught my eye was the adorable pooch he had on his shoulders. I was distracted by thinking if I had gathered everything I came for (I’m famous for forgetting at least one, sometimes two, things) so I was not paying close attention those in front of me. I never caught on to the situation and the lovely gift the lady in front of me had just experienced. She finished her transaction, gathered her bags, fussed over Fred (the adorable pooch) and said, “Thank you! Thank you! Happy New Year to you!” and left. I was up. As the sales associate ran my transaction through, Fred’s owner was making conversation with me. “How are you today?” “Great!” I said, “And you?” “Oh, I’m wonderful!” As we continued our pleasant exchange, I figured he knew the sales associate, was visiting, and was just making pleasant conversation with all the customers.
As my transaction came to a close, I reached into my purse for my handy Optimum card and Interac card. Fred’s owner said, “You can put those away, Miss. You don’t need those today.” I was confused to say the least. I shook my head, smiled and said, “Oh, no, I’m just going to pay and then someone else can come through here. I’m almost done.” He chuckled and said, “You are done, but you’re not paying for these today—I am.” I looked at him, then to the sales associate, and stared at both with a look of disbelief and awe. Suddenly what I missed happening with the lady in front of me became crystal clear. “Are you serious?” I asked incredulously. “I’m totally serious. Go on, take your things and please just go home and hug your family and your pets if you have any, and enjoy your evening. Happy New Year, from Fred and me.” And he continued, “People, keep coming forward, please.” Let the record show that the sales total was nearing $300 after my transaction. And Fred’s owner was just getting started.
To say I was stunned was not an understatement, I thanked him and wished him and Fred well, and all the best in this New Year. And what was interesting was that I, who never leave home without my trusted iPhone and camera, had left it at home by mistake. I couldn’t even snap a picture of Fred and his kind-hearted keeper to share with you. So what I am sharing with you is his lesson—Let’s start the year by paying it forward just because. Many times what we hear is about ‘Random Acts of Kindness’. What I’m hoping we can do together is to start ‘Deliberate Acts of Kindness’. Anticipate how someone around you, in the moment, could benefit from a kindness. Then act deliberately to make this kindness a reality for them. When we seize chances for deliberate action, we become part of the solution and encourage selfless action on behalf of the greater good. We leave a legacy that inspires others to contribute and pay it forward again and again.
As I left the store, I patted happy, little Fred and promised Fred’s owner I would be paying his kindness forward many times this year. I enjoy doing good deeds and I enjoy teaching my children that is not just right to do kind deeds but it is a must in this world of ours. We must be kind to others so that our kindness may spread and touch the lives and hearts of many.
So my challenge, dear readers, is to start something brilliant todayTM. Be brilliant–not just for you, but for others. Your act of kindness doesn’t have to big, but it does have to be heartfelt. It shouldn’t be done to make YOU feel better or smug, but to make someone else feel as though they matter and are worth a stranger’s kindness and thought. Perhaps your kindness will be anonymous. Here are on Day One of 2012, and I can’t wait to see how many opportunities we can create where we help each other just because. Let’s do this together and watch how far our kindness can spread. Peace and love to all.
Please feel free to share your Deliberate Act of Kindness here in our comments section. I would love to hear them.