Category: Pay It Forward

Extreme Pay It Forward: Home Edition

| WA, USA | Pay It Forward

A couple friends of mine just moved out together after living with a friend of a friend whose relationship with them had deteriorated over time. When they moved out, they realized they’d mostly been using their former roommates household items, and only had very few themselves.

After helping them move into their new apartment, which has depleted almost all their combined checking and savings, I take them to a big box store so they can buy their most necessary necessities. They grab a cart for themselves, but I also grab one as well. As we go up and down the aisles, I ask them things like, ‘do you have a trash can? Paper towels? A broom?’ and when they reply no, I grab one and put it in my cart. We also go by the grocery section, and I pick up a bunch of boxes of mac and cheese and some large packages of chicken breasts, a jug of milk, and a few other grocery items.

When we get to the checkout stand, I take a separate aisle, and as they wonder what I’m doing, I tell them I’m paying for all the things in my cart. They look at me like they can’t believe it. They try to refuse, but I tell them I am just paying it forward, after my mother helped me out the same way when I moved out on my own, and that they should do the same someday in their future when an opportunity arose.

They gave me a big hug and promised me lots of future home-baked treats, which I couldn’t refuse.

Time For A Christmas Change

| USA | Holidays, Pay It Forward

(In line at a popular chain coffee shop, I can overhear the cashier telling customers that the previous customer has paid for their drinks – “pay it forward” – and each customer is then paying for the next customer. The lady in front of me makes her order, and then it comes time to pay.)

Cashier: “The customers are doing ‘Pay It Forward’ today. Your drink has been paid for by the last customer!

Lady: “Oh, that’s so nice! Thank you!” *leaves*

Cashier: *to me* “Wow. I… I’m so sorry. Everyone else has carried this on.”

Me: “No problem. I’ll take a—”

(I try to hand the cashier a $5 but she holds out her hand.)

Cashier: “Wait, I might be able to make it from the change pot.”

(She takes the cup that she’s been dropping odd change into, and proceeds to count out small change. There is just enough for my drink.)

Cashier: *with a huge smile* “There! Your drink has been paid for!”

Me: “Thank you! Here, pay it forward.” *I hand her the $5 and she puts it into the change pot for the next customer*

Cashier: “Thank you SO much! Happy holidays!”

Pay It Forward: Christmas Special

| BC, Canada | Holidays, Pay It Forward

(I’m on the bus on the way to my hometown to visit my family and friends over Christmas. I’ve been on the bus all night. We’ve stopped at gas stations but this is our first stop at a place with hot food, and we still have 3 hours to go, and I’ve walked from the bus depot while it is about -40.)

Me: “Okay, can I get a coffee, and an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, no meat? On debit, please.”

Cashier: “It says your card’s declined. Want to try again? Any cash?”

(No cash, and I try again, still no dice.)

Me: *tired, hungry and almost in tears* “Sorry, it didn’t work. Thank you anyway.”

Cashier: “Look, you know what honey? Take it.”

Me: “What?”

Cashier: “Take the sandwich, hon. You look like you need it right now. Just do one thing for me, OK?”

Me: “OK, what’s that?”

Cashier: “Pay it forward. Next time you see someone you can help, help ’em. And have a Merry Christmas.”

(Now that’s the holiday spirit for you. I keep her in mind whenever I see someone who needs help now.)

Homeless Is Where The Heart Is, Part 7

| Phoenix, AZ, USA | Pay It Forward

(I am traveling by bus to downtown Phoenix, and miss my connecting bus by about one minute. That means another 29 minutes until the next bus comes along, so I go into the convenience store on the corner to get a drink because it’s an exceedingly hot day. As I am waiting on line to pay for my drink, an obviously homeless man stepped into the store.)

Homeless Man: “Excuse me, but do you take food stamps?”

Cashier: “Sorry, but we don’t.”

Homeless Man: *dejected* “Oh…Okay.”

(I pay for my drink and step outside to find the homeless man simply standing there.)

Me: “Hey… What were you hoping to buy with your food stamps in there?”

Homeless Man: “I was hoping to get a hot dog or something, ‘cause I’m really hungry and haven’t eaten in a couple of days.”

Me: “Well, the first thing you should know is that you can’t buy prepared food with food stamps. The second thing I’m just willing to share, and that’s that I was once homeless myself. That brings us to the third thing, and it’s that I want you to go inside and grab two hot dogs and a drink, because it’s REALLY hot out here. Water would probably be best.”

(We go inside and he gets himself all of the food I suggested. I pay for all of it, which amounted to under $4.00.)

Homeless Man: “Thank you SO much. I’m not used to people being this kind.”

Me: “Oh, this wasn’t free.”

Homeless Man: *worriedly* “It wasn’t?”

Me: “I have only one requirement. The next time you run into someone that needs help, and you can actually help them, do so.”

Homeless Man: *smiling* “You got it.”

(I left him to his inexpensive meal, and hope that he paid it forward eventually.)

Related:
Homeless Is Where The Heart Is, Part 6
Homeless Is Where The Heart Is, Part 5
Homeless Is Where The Heart Is, Part 4

A Hot Slice Of Pay It Forward

| CA, USA | Pay It Forward

(I work at a very well known pizza delivery company as an assistant manager, and while the drivers get tips that almost double their paychecks, the insiders will go entire days, sometimes weeks without seeing any tips. One day when a customer comes in to pick up her order…)

Customer: “Oh, shoot, I forgot my wallet at home, and I’ve only got a little bit of money!”

(She thinks it over for a minute.)

Customer: “How much would it be for me to have it delivered to my house?”

Me: “It would be… [Price], and it would take about forty minutes to get there. Here, how much money did you say you have on you?”

(She pulls out money from her purse, and I notice she’s only a couple dollars short.)

Me: “You know what, ma’am? You’re only two dollars short, and I’ve been having a very good day for tips. I’ll cover the rest of the order.”

Customer: “Oh, no, I couldn’t possibl–”

Me: “I insist, ma’am; besides, it’s only two dollars. It’s not a big deal.”

Customer: “Oh, my God, thank you. What’s your name? I’ll have to pay you back for this.”

Me: “That’s not necessary, ma’am. Like I said, it’s only two dollars, and I’ve still made decent tips today without it”

Customer: “No, I’ve got to! Now please, tell me your name!”

(I give her my name and tell her to have a nice day. She takes her order and leaves, I get back to work and forget about the incident soon after. I come into work a few days later, when the general manager, who has the same name I do, calls me over.)

Manager: “[My Name], could you come into the office? We seem to have gotten a letter, and I don’t know who it’s for.”

(Sure enough there was a letter on the desk, and I immediately remembered the lady from the few days before.)

Letter: “Dear Manager, I just wanted to let you know that I was very impressed by your employee, [My Name]. I ordered a pizza to pick up while running around with my two small children. I realized when I got to your establishment that I had forgotten my wallet from home. I was able to get together some money for the pizza but was a couple dollars short. I was going to have the pizza delivered when [My Name] said that he had a good tip day and used his own money to help me out. I think that he deserves to be noticed for being a great employee and going out of his way to help out a customer. He saved me a lot of time and aggravation and went beyond his call of duty, Thank you for having such a kind person working for you!”

(There was also a ten dollar bill inside the letter! To this day it’s the nicest thing a customer has ever done for me, and while I no longer work at the restaurant, I still keep the letter folded in my wallet to remind me of how good people can be.)

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