Daily Archives: January 20, 2015

Pay It Forward


This post has appeared several times on my Facebook homepage over the past twenty days.

To start the new year off right, I’m participating in this “Pay It Forward” initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point during the year – anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown, homemade, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented “I’m in” I will forward this message to you privately, so that you can copy and paste it, and put it on your status, (don’t share it) so that we can form a web of connection of kindness.
Let’s do more nice and loving things in 2015, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable and friendly, and love filled year….

The wording of the post above makes me feel very uneasy. It has a hint of …. ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. Asking people to post a comment in order to gain a perhaps unwanted gift is not what the original concept was all about.

I think it may have been Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight, who originally came up with the concept.

In the year 2000 an American drama film Pay It Forward, based on the novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hyde, came to our screens. It was directed by Mimi Leder and written by Leslie Dixon. It stars Haley Joel Osment as a boy who launches a good-will movement, Helen Hunt as his single mother, and Kevin Spacey as his social-studies teacher. I did read the book and watched the movie. I have blogged about the concept here. 

‘Pay it forward’ is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor. It is not announced in advanced. You don’t tell people you are going to do it. No. It is done spontaneously and randomly when you see someone in need.


Stuck for ideas? Here are some simple suggestions – one for each day of the week.

  1. Giving up your seat on a busy bus/tram/train to an elderly person.
  2. Seeing someone at a cash till who is short of change for the newspaper, and offer the coins.
  3. Reaching up to the top shelf in a supermarket for someone struggling to get at the item they need.
  4. Carrying a heavy load for someone.
  5. Offering a lift to someone walking uphill in the rain.
  6. Giving time to someone in need of a listening ear.
  7. Providing a hot meal for a frail elderly person living on their own.

There are so many other ways we can pay it forward without breaking the bank. If you have starved for a week, a cup of tea or coffee with a sandwich would be manna from heaven.