Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Paying it forward

In his 1841 essay Compensation, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody."  In other words, instead of paying back the person who did this good for you, pay it forward to someone else.


The idea isn't a new one but it can certainly be extraordinary.  In his movie, Haley Joel Osment, tries to make a huge difference in the lives of others after his teacher assigns the class to think of something to change the world and put it into action. Osment begins a movement that is responsible for some pretty incredible actions.


We're not just talking here about RAKs (random acts of kindness), although sometimes they are the same.  There may be another movement these days because I have certainly been hearing a number of heartwarming stories. Back in October of last year, three men from Give Back Films tipped a waitress at an International House of Pancakes $200 and then filmed her reaction.  Recently, a patron at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Nebraska left an 18-year-old waitress a tip of more than $6,000, enabling the young woman could remain in Bible college. In Knoxville, Tennessee, a family left a $1,075 gratuity for the $29.30 their check, after overhearing the waitress speak of her personal financial troubles.
 
Of course we may not all have the funds to be this generous, but we can still help.  Sometimes a group o people will get together for a cause.  Several people working together will lower the cost.  The cost does not have to be high either.  Next time you are in a restaurant and you see a waiter heading to someone's table with their check, intercept that server and pay the check yourself.  Paying it forward will really make you feel wonderful.

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