Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Be a Light: Pay it Forward (or Backward)

As we continue to explore ways to shine a little light for others this holiday season, let's talk about making "random acts of kindness" into concrete examples of giving.

How about anonymously paying for another car in the drive-thru line?

Photo by Leigh of Leigh vs. Laundry, used with permission

You may have heard about someone doing this—maybe someone you know, or one of those feel-good stories gone viral online. Maybe you've done it yourself. Maybe you've been the lucky one on the receiving end.

It's a wonderful thing to do, but let's not forget something: Paying for a complete stranger, even one you never see face-to-face, can be intimidating, even scary.

Our friend Leigh in Athens, who blogs at Leigh vs. Laundrywonderfully captured just such an experience on her blog. She was in the drive-thru line for fast food on a dreary day, she writes. While fretting over various everyday issues in her life, she heard a little voice, she adds, telling her to pay for the person in the car behind her.

"I dismissed the quiet voice and tried to talk myself out of it," she wrote in the blog post. "Money is tight, I can't just go paying for other people's food...what if she was buying food for her whole office?"

Yet Leigh did it—heart pounding, hands trembling, she wrote, she blurted out, "I'd like to pay for the car behind me, too."

Turns out it was just $5 extra dollars. Plus, Leigh could see the big smile and wave of thanks in the car behind her.

"I truly believe that the quickest way to finding happiness is to do good things for other people," Leigh wrote. "Even the smallest gestures can make big waves."

We agree!

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