So instead, I’d like to share with you a holiday story I heard on the radio last night. It’s about a man who “paid it forward.”
Pay it forward is the idea that we should do favors for others, because – someday, somewhere – someone will perform a kind act for us.
Rather than starting as the recipient, we start as the giver. We pay it forward rather than paying it back.
Last night, a man wrote to a radio show to recall one Christmas – decades ago – when a he noticed that a car had broken down outside his home.
The car had popped a flat tire. It was an old car, and there was no spare tire in the back. A family of three – a husband, wife and their child — were stranded with a flat tire on Christmas.
The man greeted the stranded family. He invited the mother and child to come inside his home, where his own wife fixed them tea. Then he drove the father to a 24-hour shop to look for a new tire.
The stranded father protested that he couldn’t afford a new tire. So the man asked the shopkeeper if he had any good-quality used ones.
The shopkeeper did, and offered it for $25. The man bought it as a Christmas gift for the stranded family.
“How can I repay you?” the stranded father asked.
“Pay it forward,” the man replied.
That was decades ago. Who knows where the family is now? Who knows what they’ve done for others — or what they haven’t done? That will always be a mystery.
But one thing is certain: The helpful man recalls that evening with fondness and clarity. Even today, decades later, he keeps getting joy from the memory of helping the stranded family.
In other words, the stranded family paid it forward — unexpectedly — by revealing the joy of giving.
Happy Holidays from Afford Anything.
Thanks to Alex Proimo for today’s photo.