Most of us know what the above title means. And I’m hoping that we have all had the opportunity to do this. It is so simple to do that I think it would happen more often if we just thought about it.
I have a friend that works at a restaurant and he told me that every week, a widower comes in for dinner and, while there, he’ll look around for a family (usually a large family having dinner) and when he goes to pay his bill, he’ll ask the hostess if $75.00 will cover their bill. When she says yes, he leaves her enough to cover the tab and the tip. After he leaves, and has been gone for several minutes, she goes over and tells the family what had happened – that their bill has been taken care of. They are completely surprised! And so very grateful.
He also left enough money for them to have dessert or take a couple of pies home!! They look around trying to find this person, but she told them he had left quite a while ago. All he asked is that they enjoy their dinner and that if they ever have a chance to help someone (in other words, pay it forward), they do.
I actually see this all the time – I see people at a grocery store tell the cashier as she gives her a hundred bill, to have that go for the groceries for the woman behind her, who has a few kids with her and a lot of groceries.
I see lot of this kind of generosity at the airport; especially people wanting to buy a cup of coffee or dinner for servicemen who have just been deployed. I had the opportunity to do this a few weeks ago and posted it on Facebook:
It never fails. I always run into these selfless people as I travel, especially through Atlanta. And it usually goes something like this:
ME: Sir/Gentlemen, I simply want to thank you for the freedom you grant me. May I shake your hand and buy you lunch/dinner?
SOLDIER: [Before speaking to me, they USUALLY ALWAYS drop to one knee, my level. I never ask them to. They just do it. Talk about respect. I’m not saying I deserve it, nor request it. I’m simply saying it is truly my honor to meet them and show my gratitude; and, as if it is ingrained in their DNA, they passionately demonstrate this type of love by flipping the scenario and treat me as though it is an honor for them to serve, meet and protect me. They don’t even know who I am! Names have not yet been exchanged. But I know who they are. They are heroes! Can you imagine what kind of a country we would have if we were all like this? Had this kind of selflessness towards others? This kind of compassion and unconditional love? This desire to serve and sacrifice?]
“Sir, it is our pleasure to serve you. We are fine. You don’t need to buy us dinner.”
ME: Please, I insist. I would love to break bread with you.
SOLDIER: “Ok sir, but know that this is not necessary.”
We then go about our way and enjoy a brief meal together and talk about the past, present and future. It’s because of them that I have a future. It’s because of them that my posterity will have a future. And it is their sacrifice that allows me to not be stuck in this seat. Breaking bread with them is a simple way for me to take time and better understand the integrity and respect that motivates these young people to sacrifice… The ultimate price if required. It seems as though this kind of compassion is ingrained in their blood. I love them! There is so much we can all learn from our servicemen and women.
Today, here in Atlanta, I ran into soldiers three different times. A 3 1/2 hour layover was not sufficient for me to spend the time I wanted to with these young people. It went by way too fast. Almost missed my flight! I’m so grateful that God gave them to me to make sure that my dreams, passions and future come to fruition. What a perfect way to start this Labor Day weekend! I look forward to our paths crossing again as I know one day they will. #Respect #DropToLevel #LoveAndHonor #MyStomachIsFull #SoIsMyHeart
So, you see, paying it forward is relatively easy – we just have to think about it and then act upon it. If you see an elderly person struggling with her cart in the parking lot or struggling to reach for an item in the store, just go over. If you pass a school ground and you see some kid getting bullied – stop and stop them. There are so many ways we can help our fellow man, and if you stop and think of how many times you have been helped, you will make it your goal to help others.