We often hear how selfish people are. We hear how people are too busy today to worry about someone else. However, there are times that a kind gesture really does remind us there is still a lot of good out there.

Recently, one of The Explorer’s couriers had an unfortunate incident where he was delivering newspapers and while doing so his car caught fire in front of an area resident’s home. She saw the flames, called for help and knew this man was in a tough position with the holidays, because his job is delivering newspapers. She stressed that you can’t deliver newspapers without a car.

He was not injured, and the incident was taken care of, but he did lose the car.

The kind person came forward, making a sizable donation to the courier, who said it couldn’t have come at a better time. With our courier running into some bad luck recently, he was going to be without a vehicle altogether, but the donation allowed him to fix another vehicle and get back on the road.

Working in the newspaper business over the years, it’s always these stories, these gestures that give me such pleasure to relay to readers. However, like this resident, so many of them don’t want recognition, they just want to help.

This woman didn’t want recognition. She didn’t want her name in the newspaper. She didn’t want a story done on it. What she did want in return was for this courier to pay it forward. I certainly hope he does pay it forward because she sought him, and was persistent in making sure he received her donation.

Besides our local resident making the kind gesture that meant a lot to this man, I was also taken aback by the story coming out of New York where a police officer took $100 of his own money to buy a homeless man a pair of shoes on a cold night. While the stories of who this homeless man really is are mixed, one might hope that he too will pay forward what is an extremely kind gesture.

Paying it forward has become a well-known term. The expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking the beneficiary of a good deed to repay it to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept is old, but the phrase may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book “In the Garden of Delight.”

Pay it Forward has become so popular that there is even a website dedicated to it, www.payitforward .com.  This website has created an official “Pay it Forward” Day, which is held in April each year. The next planned day is April 13, 2013. In the upcoming year’s international Pay it Forward Day, organizers are aiming to inspire more than five million acts of kindness around the world. Looking to make a big impact, the group apparently has more than 50 countries involved.

While having a set day each year for the world to “pay it forward” is fantastic, I am a big fan of the concept, especially this holiday season. I am a strong believer in paying it forward. I believe we all have a responsibility to help those less fortunate, and judging by the multiple programs out there, there are plenty who need help, especially during the holiday season.

There are so many programs asking us for assistance this year, so there are plenty of ways for us to do something good that might be passed on to someone else. It is hard to decipher which are important, where the effort is needed most, but at the end of the day, if everyone takes some time to give to something, all programs will likely benefit.

From programs that help kids get toys, to the food banks working hard to collect enough food donations to make it possible for some of our less fortunate families to have a good holiday dinner, to those collecting gifts for sick children in the local hospital – all have value and all deserve attention.

(1) comment

John J Flanagan

Thelma, it is not surprising what happened to the courier. There are millions of similar stories played out each and every day. The kindness and generosity of strangers more than offsets the stories of selfishness one hears about. It is easy to become cynical about life based on the morbid diet of violent entertainment, bad news stories, examples of unethical, immoral, and indecent behavior around us. In my 68 years of life, I have known many people who were like the woman in your story. Remember God is always moving among us and prompts many people to do the right thing.

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