I didn’t realise and therefore blog about Pay It Forward Day last Friday until a little late in the day, so allowed myself to include Saturday to complete my 3 acts of kindness.
I realised that Saturday morning offered 2 straight forward ones in the same place at the same time in different ways. I had a meeting on Saturday morning with some people I had not met before in a cafe in Bedford and I knew that it was the birthday of one the people attending. It turned out that I had met her once before.
Anyway I decided to go to the little florist across the road on the way and get her a little something. I chose 4 lovely orange and yellow gerberas which were really fitting to the bright sunny day and welcome spring like feel.
That cafe (Frescoes) also operates a Pay It Forward or ‘suspended’ coffee system so I bought 2 coffees when I left for future customers in need.
That planned already, I was thinking about what else I could do. I was going out that evening with the Bedford Harriers circuits group so was thinking about what I could do for whom there or on the way.
Then an email appeared in my inbox. In the subject line was one of the suggested Pay It Forward ideas from my blog post:
Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
It was from a school friend who I have not been in touch with for about 10 years. I had lost touch with her for a while as you do from time to time. However, later on there were opportunities to make contact again which I had not taken. In fact she had contacted me previously on Facebook and I had chosen to ignore it. I am not proud of that and now cannot explain what was making me so pig headed and selfish.
What a wonderful opportunity had come my way as a result of the blog. I emailed back straight away, including an apology for my behaviour and made an arrangement to speak on Sunday when we both had time. It was great to reconnect and we have planned to meet up soon to be able to properly catch up. I’d like to thank her for reaching out to me again and for being so gracious about my previous rudeness.
What a great reminder that it’s never too late to apologise for your behaviour and to reconnect with people.
Today is Pay It Forward Day in the UK. The movement was inspired by a book of that name by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The book is about a boy who was challenged along with his classmates by a teacher to come up with an idea to change the world. The book was made into a film starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Hayley Joel Osment.
The boy’s idea was that he would do something good, kind and generous on a large scale for three other people and that they in turn would do the same for three more people, and so on. What would follow would be a tidal wave of selfless and generous acts of kindness.
In celebration of the day and the idea, how about giving it a try and doing 3 things you would not otherwise have done today? Here are a few ideas if you need some inspiration:
Write a letter of appreciation to someone who plays an important part in your life
Smile at some people you don’t know and say good evening
Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
Tell someone how much they mean to you and why if you haven’t done that in a while
Appreciate someone at work for a task well done or for having a really good attitude
Buy treats for the office (sorry this a bit late in the day – you could delay till Monday!)
Buy a stranger a drink if they are waiting at the bar with you
Stop and have a chat with a Big Issue seller as well as buying a magazine from them.
Help someone with their shopping, with a pram or with their luggage
Thank someone for good customer service
Write an email to a company or club which you feel do a great job
Pay It Forward at a cafe or pub – leave some extra money with the staff and ask them to use it to buy a drink for someone who looks like they need cheering up that day
At a restaurant, ask for the bill of another table from the waiting staff and pay it for them, and write on the bill that it’s a pay it forward gift
Make a donation to charity or sponsor someone
Not only will this make someone else’s day, it will also contribute to your happiness so it’s a win-win concept. What have you got to lose?
Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. ~ Author Unknown
Back in January this year my friend Haydn posted this message on his Facebook wall:
2013 Creative Pay-It-Forward: The first 5 people to comment on this status will receive from me, sometime in this calendar year, a gift–perhaps a book, baked goods, music–a surprise! There will likely be no warning, and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me. The catch? Those 5 people must make the same offer in their Facebook status. Pay it forward!
I was already a fan of the concept of paying if forward – if you don’t know the concept or the film then do check both out. The idea is that instead of waiting for someone to do something kind for you and then paying them back, you pay a kindness forward, either to someone you know or to a stranger. Just Google it and you’ll find the movie which stars Kevin Spacey and Holly Hunter and a lot of sites promoting the idea including http://www.payitforwarduk.net/
So I added my name to his wall and posted it on my wall. My friends Rosalie, Arian, Kim, and Naomi signed up on my wall, and reposted on their walls. And so the idea spreads.
Anyway, back to the collection of my gift. Haydn contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked what I was doing on 28th March. I asked why, and he said that he wanted to take me out in Brighton. It turned out as we haven’t seen each other in a while, that he presumed I had done what I had told him I was thinking of doing and moved to Lewes, near Brighton. I haven’t! Anyway I have a dear friend in Lewes and this gave me a fine excuse to spend a couple of days with her as well.
So my Pay It Forward treat was dinner and a concert. He didn’t immediately tell me what concert it was, so I decided not to ask and just be surprised as part of the fun. I asked about dress code, and he said flamenco. I was pretty excited about that and was all set to get involved. Those of you who know me will not be shocked to hear that. Then he told me he was joking #alittledisappointed #joking.
I took the train on Thursday from Bedford and he got on the train in London and we began the mammoth task of catching up on the past 10 months – that would be a challenge normally but it had been quite a time for both of us – he had bought his first home with his partner John, had proposed to John in New York at New Year, and has changed jobs. I had moved twice, set up a business and am training for my first marathon. There was a lot to cover. He thankfully had the foresight to bring beer for the journey.
He took me to Pho in Black Lion Street in Brighton. I had never been to one before (it’s a chain) and loved it. Wonderful flavours and super fresh. Delicious and speedy which we needed as we had to be at Concorde 2 at 8.15. We jumped in a taxi got to the venue just as La Roux was starting her set. I have to be honest, I hadn’t heard of her. However, her style is very 80s and therefore pretty familiar.
I had a great evening firstly as I got to spend time with Haydn (pictured below with delicious Pho food) after a long time, secondly as he treated me so generously and kindly, and thirdly as I experienced some new stuff – Pho and La Roux. So thank you Haydn for initiating the idea and for creating such a lovely Pay It Forward gift for me.
Nice idea isn’t it? So how about posting the message on your Facebook page and seeing how you can Pay It Forward?