Sunday, May 20, 2012

Paying It Forward

A couple of weeks ago my boy and I went to the store.  We were shopping for a Mother's Day gift for my mom in a bookstore.  I knew what I was hunting for and therefore thought if I looked long enough I could find it on my own.  I quietly searched from aisle to aisle looking for a specific book towing my little man behind me with his hand in mine.  I would stop and look over the shelves while he would rub my arm, or wrap his arms around my leg.  All the while he kept repeating the name of the book I was looking for and doing his best to help me find it.  After some time I finally gave in and asked for help.  As the clerk glided to the back of the store to check on my request, an elderly man approached us.  He gently asked for my permission to speak with my boy.  My immediate thought was one of distress.  I had left him alone for all of two seconds while I walked quickly around one aisle to check one last spot.  I wondered what trouble he had caused while I was gone in that brief moment, and I braced myself for what words would come next from the stranger.  I approved his request to speak to my boy, and what came next shocked me.  He bent down close and asked my little man for his name.  Doop softly replied stating his full name.  Based on the response I was certain that he had done something he shouldn't have in my short time away, but the man slowly stuck his hand out and introduced himself in return.  After a friendly shake between them, the man proceeded to tell my boy that he had been watching us.  He said he had been watching our interactions as we moved throughout the store, and he said he could tell how close we were.  He also complimented my little man and told him that he could tell that he was a good boy.  Then his hand slipped into his pocket, and when it returned it had a folded bill braced between his fingers.  He held it out in front of my boy and told him to find a good book in the store because good boys need good books.  He thanked me for the opportunity to speak with my son, and went on his way.  Doop looked up at me with big eyes as he unfolded the bill and saw the 10 written on the top.  A ten dollar bill from a complete stranger.  I couldn't believe it.  I was truly overwhelmed by his kindness.  We searched the store for a book that he would enjoy, and after quite some time he became discouraged.  We just couldn't find a book that he felt was worth spending the ten dollars on, and then I got an idea.  The store had other good things to offer besides books.  It had scripture cases, and Doop was beyond thrilled with the idea of purchasing a case to hold his cherished hand-me-down scriptures that his Grandpa Steve had gifted to him.  He took his time and he weighed all of his options, and in the end he chose a scripture case that he was so excited to take home and fill up with his scriptures.  He absolutely loves it.  All of this happiness because of the kindness of a stranger.  One man who took the time to give has made such a difference for my little boy.  I couldn't stop thinking about what he had done.  This just isn't the type of act that you run into on a daily basis, and I was so grateful for it.  The week went on, and the more I thought about the example of this stranger the more I wanted to do something myself, but what could I do?  What could I give that would make a difference for someone?  I wish I had wads of money that I could hand out whenever I felt like it, but that just isn't reality.  The one thing I do have is time, and therefore I decided to post on facebook about my experience.  I summarized what had taken place and offered to take pictures for someone if they would pay the kindness forward.  I'm not sure that people believed me at first, but eventually I received four different responses from people saying they would love to have their pictures taken and agreeing to pay it forward.  I couldn't just pick one, and decided instead to take pictures for each one of them.  I figured that if each of them were willing to pay it forward then it would be more beneficial to do this for each of them, and with this a new idea came.  Over the next several weeks I will be photographing each of these individuals and their families.  I will be enjoying the chance to pay it forward, but this will not be the end.  This is something I will be doing more often.  This is something I will be offering several times throughout the year.  Passing on the kindness that has been shown to me is the least I can do for those who have given it to me.  It's the best gift I can give right now, and I'm excited to do it.  I'll share those images, and hopefully a few stories along the way.  I think this is the start of something big, and it feels like the opportunity I've been looking for has finally found me.  I can't think of a better way to be spending some of my time than paying it forward.

4 comments:

E. said...[Reply to comment]

I read about this on facebook and was touch by that man's kindness. You are a wonderful person to keep the spirit alive by paying it forward. It really is a ripple effect and you will make a difference, I'm sure.

Karli @ The Bonnie 5 said...[Reply to comment]

INSERT TEARS. That is the most beautiful thing I've heard in a very long time. What an act of kindness!!! Something I'm sure your son will remember forever. Thank you so much for sharing.... it totally made my night to hear there are still good people in this world!! xoxoxoxo!!!

Naomi said...[Reply to comment]

Im with Karli. Totally teary here! That is so awesome. I love that you are paying it forward too. :)

Lisa McCully said...[Reply to comment]

Hi Marvett, hope this lets me post, what a ordeal!!
I love this post and the paying it forward, can't wait to see the images!! Wonderful!

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