Paying it Forward in Real Life Situations

by Janet Matthews Health and Nutrition Writer

Having written a blog recently about Paying it Forward in the business sense I was very interested to read this article recently that talks about Paying it Forward in life in general. I was so taken with the idea , I thought I would share it with you.

by Steve Goodier

Edwin Hubbel Chapin once said, "Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." That is the definition of a legacy. Wouldn't you love to do something that might strike a beautiful chord that will "vibrate in eternity"?

I've discovered this about legacies - generous people leave great legacies. I read about a couple in Canada who stopped to help a motorist who had run out of gasoline. It was a regular occurrence in their part of rural Canada. After they got him on his way, they bought
a new fuel can, scratched their initials on it, filled it with petrol and stored it in the trunk of their car.

A few months later they again stopped to assist a stranded motorist. But this time they GAVE him their gas can and told him to fill it up, keep it with him and pass it along to the next motorist he sees who has run out of fuel.

Though they never expected to see their can again, in a couple of years they spotted it being passed along to a grateful motorist on the road. They recognized it several more times over the years, and each time they asked its owner where it had come from. They ascertained that the can had traveled across the continent at least two times!

They never intended to leave a legacy. When they bought the fuel can they never dreamed that their action might strike chords that could vibrate in eternity. But that container is probably still traveling across Canada in the back of somebody's vehicle!

I wonder how many stranded motorists have been rescued by the generosity of complete strangers who stopped to help? And how many have then taken the container, re-filled it, and finally passed it along to some other poor soul? Good will generated by a humble can of
fuel has no doubt been multiplied many times in countless ways, striking beautiful chords that vibrate forever.

It's true - generous people leave great legacies. Even that small piece of yourself you freely give away may thrive in surprising ways throughout eternity.

It occured to me that when we offer to Pay it Forward in the business sense - we are really doing it so that we will gain in the long run. Maybe if we did it in the true sense of giving we would get better results.

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About Janet Matthews Professional     Health and Nutrition Writer

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Georgios Paraskevopoulos Professional   Consultant/Translator EN-GR-SW
Hello Janet!

This is good information and many people are better than we think.
We are made to live social meaning that we have to help each other.

Thank you for sharing! Keep up the good work.

Jul 6th 2008 11:43   
Dee Hudson Committed   Validated Veretekk Trainer
Thank you for shearing Janet,

very thought provoking, Lets all try to help others more in our daily lives.

Take care because I care

Jul 6th 2008 12:04   
Cheryl Baumgartner Professional   Medical Billing/Coding/Insurance
Paying it forward is a good way to live but we must realize that this is not about a gain for you but helping someone else. I help people when I can and the only thing I ask is that they help someone else when they get a chance. Many years ago someone did that very thing for me when my car broke down. I had just gotten out of the military and he saw me in my uniform. I asked for his address to pay him back the money when I got to my destination. However his only request after reaching in his pocket to give me a $50 bill was that I return to favor to someone else, just as someone had done for him many years ago. I never knew his name but I remember the lesson he taught me.
Jul 6th 2008 12:44   
Not Here Committed  just want my account deleted
What we do, how we act or treat each other has a much greater effect than we can even imagine. Everything we know(or think we know) about life today really is little more than the effect of what has happened before us.

I wonder who it was, and how long ago it was when someone first came up with the idea that we need to compete with each other or that one of us should deserve more than another.....just look at us now.
Jul 6th 2008 15:06   
Clarence Coggins Advanced  Get Leads 4 Life
Wow that is a great story. Could you imagine that happening with gas prices as they are today? But true humanity is judged by the dollar amount. It is measured by random and planned acts of little kindness.

Keep shining light on the World.

Clarence Coggins
Crown Prince of Web 2.0
1 Minute 30 Day Success System Founder
Jul 6th 2008 16:15   
Karl Rose Advanced  
The pay it forward system if used in life situations instead of business situations is much more appealing to me. I had a situation kind of like cheryl. I was driving alone on my way to the Grand Canyon. It was near midnight and I got a flat. Lucky I had a small truck w/a camper shell. I was unable to get those darn lug nuts off. So I curled up inside the camper had a couple of beers and went to sleep. I was awakened by a knocking on my camper shell. Thinking it was a cop, it was actually a good samaritan. He was on his way to work. He took off his coat and tie and replaced the tire. He gave me a $50 but I said I had money and could go to the nearest gas station and get a new tire etc. He would NOT take the $50 back. HE SAID USE THAT FOR YOUR EXPENSES AND RETURN THE FAVOR because I am sure you will see someone else in need on your travels. Sure enough about 2 days later I helped a stranded single mother, she was waiting for AAA, I passed on the $50 AND waited for AAA to arrive to see that she was OK. I told her the same thing, just pass on this $50.
Jul 7th 2008 13:33   
Janet Matthews Professional   Health and Nutrition Writer
Thank you all for so many interesting comments.

That is a very interesting story of what happened to you Cheryl and also to you Karl - which I suppose is exactly what my blog is about.

It is very true Garnet that we are too intent on competing with each other and thinking that the world owes us something. We need to turn that around and start giving first and I am sure the world would very quickly be a better place to live.

Hi Clarence Dee and Georgios and nice to see you all here and thanks for your comments
Jul 8th 2008 13:13   
Cindy Bolley Magnate II Premium   HHCTB?
Janet, Thanks you so much for sharing this article. It reminds of an incident I had several years ago. My husband has a vending company. One very HOT day I had to help him fill vending machines. So that meant my van was loaded with pop chips and candy. Before I had gotten to my first stop I had a tire blowout on a very busy expressway near Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Go Blue)

Needless to say I was a damsel in distress. I got out the manual of how to change the tire and getting the spare out of its stored location proved to be my first obstacle. Standing by the side of the very busy road with cars traveling within inches of me going 90 miles an hour, I was well out of my comfort zone.

A white van pulled up behind me an a nice young gentleman got out and offered to help. He put on my spare tire as if he had done it many times in the past. He would not take money for his trouble nor would he accept my offer of junk food. he simply said, Please just have your husband return the favor one day to someone else."

As he drove away I noted that it was an 84 Lumber Company van. His sewn in name tag told me his name was "Dennis". When I got home I made a few phone calls and got the address of the 84 Lumber Company in Ann Arbor, where "Dennis" worked.

At that time I was a volunteer for our local cancer organization so I made a donation to it in his honor. Several days later I went into the cancer office and the ladies informed me that I had had a gentleman call and ask for me. They told him I volunteered there
and assured him that any message he left would get to me.

He proceeded to tell the ladies that I had made a donation in his honor simply for changing my tire. He went onto explain that my gesture was especially heart felt to him because he himself was a cancer survivor.

In writing this now many years later it still brings a tear to my eye of how a simple act of kindness can generate so much good.
Jul 9th 2008 07:52   
Cheryl Baumgartner Professional   Medical Billing/Coding/Insurance
We should remember "Angels often come without wings and halos"
Jul 9th 2008 08:07   
Janet Matthews Professional   Health and Nutrition Writer
Oh Cindy that is a wonderful story - it has brought a tear to my eyes also. You are a past master at paying it forward with the time you give to Veretekk. I am always amazed how generous people online are with their time. It is very heartening to see in this troubled world we live in.

Thank you so much for sharing your story
Jul 9th 2008 14:20   
Cindy Bolley Magnate II Premium   HHCTB?
Keep up the great work Janet.
And your so right Cheryl
You just never know what Angels REALLY look like.

Jul 9th 2008 14:44   
Janet Matthews Professional   Health and Nutrition Writer
Hmmm - Angels in disguise what an interesting thought!!
Jul 14th 2008 03:26   
Cheryl Baumgartner Professional   Medical Billing/Coding/Insurance
The old coot wrote a discussion in the QCWG group that that a perfect example of Angel' in disguise.
Normally I don't put links in a response but this is a moving and powerful example of how God uses us as angels
Jul 14th 2008 07:48   
Gilberto Cintron Senior   Viral, Local, Social & Mobile Marketing Expert
The very first line in Morgan Scott Peck's book "The Road Less Traveled" is Life is difficult. I read this book many years ago but every once in awhile I think about it. This post on paying forward is one such time. See, I was a professional helper, a Social Worker. Day in and day out I helped people, that was my job. Despite the fact that worked with child abuse, domestic violence, drug addiction, etc. My real work can from my volunteerism. Growing up in Spanish Harlem during the late 1960's and 1970's I witnessed so many horrible things that I had made it my life's mission to help others get out of poverty and the Ghetto life.

Morgan Scott Peck's companion book, entitled "People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil" he asserts the people are generally bad, that when a person does something good, kind, he/she is really acting out of character.

Ok, this mumbo jumbo that I'm posting here is confusing you right? I mean what the heck does what I'm saying have to do with Janet's beautiful post on paying it forward in life. I sort of took a long approach to get at what I wanted to say. Those wonderful people that stopped and helped a stranger with gas and a $50.00 bill are the exception, not the rule. But they are the exception not because as Mr. Peck asserts, that people are bad. It is because most people are cautious. I would love to live in a land where everyone was kind, generous and polite. The reality is that in this day and age, people are in a hurry, people have less and people do not trust. I'm sure there were many motorist that wanted to stop and give a helping hand. The reason they did not was not out of selfishness but out of safety. We hear it all the time a stranger gets killed simply for trying to help someone out.

That leads me to the second point I got from this post "I am always amazed how generous people online are with their time" and this is my point. Since being online affords us a buffer, a safety net if you will, it becomes much easier to help out. It's 3:16 am and I'm probably just rambling on. Sorry I went on, but thanks for this post. I love hearing good stories, there are not to many of those. Every time I watch the news I get depressed with so much bad that is got there.
Sep 26th 2010 02:18   
Veit Johnson Committed   Personal Money Coach
Paying it forward is a great concept. I find that so many are doing it now that it is often being misused to get customers for different scams now on the internet. Had to make a comment in a blog to get my credits for the day. Thank you for your time.
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