Remember the tear-jerking film of Kevin Spacey in 2000 called “Pay it Forward”? Based on the diagram you see above, it shows a simple way of giving which is starting to catch on not just on the silver screen, but in real life today. Just this week, some astonishing “waves of kindness” were reported in Seattle, Washington, where it seemed to have started in a Starbucks café (of all places) as Bob Halsam’s nonfat raspberry latte was randomly paid for by the lady ahead of him in the queue. Similarly, Mary Ann Johnson’s meal at Salmon Bay was also paid for by a stranger. Both the waitress at the restaurant and barista at Starbucks said the parties who did the random acts of kindness called it just that – and not surprisingly, it touched them as well.
In today’s world where so many dealings with others are based on a sort of trade-off, anonymous good deeds offer another kind of higher gratification – one that is based on the premise of expecting nothing of all. Wonderful and thrilling to both the giver and receiver, even third parties (like the waitress and barista) get the benefits.
After her surprise act of kindness at the restaurant, Johnson told all her friends, and “paid it forward” herself, starting off by buying breakfast for a street vendor in her neighborhood. And since then, she’s heard that its been happening all over town. In fact, there are now websites and RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) clubs in many communities all over the world. So here’s just one more way to give. As the diarist Anne Frank once said ” “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.”