Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paying It Forward, Literally

Image: Google

Hello Optimists,

I came across a great article the other day about the power of random acts of kindness. Earlier this year I wrote a post called "Mark Your Calendars" about this same subject, and it seems that today it has reemerged.

The article that I read was about a man who decided to pick up the tab for some soldiers dining at a table nearby, just because, and the subsequent reactions and domino effect that his little, random act of kindness created. The soldiers, inspired by this man's generosity, decided to pay it forward, and chose another table at random and picked up their bill. This other table did the same, followed by the next, and the next, and this pattern continued for nearly 4 more hours! No one knew each other, or had reason (other than getting that "feel good" feeling) to do this, but they had been inspired by another's generosity and decided to do their part to make someone else feel happy.

It's amazing what just a little kindness can do. But this takes kindness to the next level, doesn't it? This wasn't a "thanks for helping me move" action of kindness, or a friendly gesture to a new neighbor. This was a purely random act - something totally unexpected that left everyone involved feeling happy, a bit more uplifted, and with an overflowing feeling of pure goodness.

Just reading this story made me smile and also made me think about how little things like this can make the world a better place. I can't think of a better way to make great new friends than by extending a word or an action of kindness.

I often wonder how it is that people extend their circle of friends, beyond the reach of their family, their "inner circle", or their "friends of friends", and now I think I know a great way to do it. Today's quote is a  reminder that not only answers my question, but goes perfectly with the lesson we learned from the random act of kindness story.

Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how.  ~Author Unknown

I hope this story keeps on giving and inspires you to perform a random act of kindness, or to pay it forward when one is given to you. What better a way to spread the message behind OO than to participate in such an event and to inspire others to do the same?

I'd love to hear about your part in a story like this...have you ever been the happy recipient or giver of a random act of kindness? Tell me about it in the comments below or, even better, share it with the OO team on Facebook!

Keep Smiling,


  1. I think you will be amused by a Bookcrossing term rabck which is a random Act of Bookcrossing Kindness and one I participate in on a regular basis, by sending books on to others.

    I will keep paying it forward.

  2. @Linda: Wow! This is great. Thanks so much for sharing - I think I will repost this to share with all of the OO readers! Thanks again!


Please Share Your Thoughts! I Appreciate Your Comments and Can't Wait to Hear from You!