Paying it Forward - Helping Yourself by Helping Others

Photo by Tim Green

    I’m always talking about how you get what you give but I was really reminded of that last night and I wanted to share it with you. My family went out for dinner and as we sat enjoying our meal, a gentleman approached our table. He commented on how well behaved the children were and I told him that yes, they have their good moments. He chuckled and said something about kids usually being rowdy in restaurants and then stepped around the corner to place his order, or so I thought. He came back around and sat $20 on the table and said we should buy them a treat for being such good kids. I said thank you and prompted the children to do the same. Normally I would have tried to refuse it but a while back someone told me that I shouldn’t always turn down someone’s offering because doing so took away a piece of the happiness they would receive for doing something nice. It’s almost instinct to say “Oh, no, please we can’t accept this.” BUT I fought the urge.

   On our way home from the restaurant, there was a man standing in the median at the intersection of the highway holding a sign and a gas can.  It was below 30 degrees out and snowing and he wasn’t really dressed for the weather. I took $20 from my purse and had my husband roll his window down and call him over to our van as we sat in traffic. You could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t expecting that much (Not that it was a lot of money but he had one of the smallest gas cans I’d ever seen.) He was very appreciative and apologized. He told us he wouldn’t usually do something like that but he didn’t have any other way. I assured him it was perfectly fine. I was so glad to pay it forward so quickly. From the moment the gentleman in the restaurant put the money down on our table I was thinking of a way I could return the kindness. I didn’t expect it to happen as soon as it did but I saw it as a true sign that you get what you give. You never know when it will happen or where but your kindness will always come back to you.


  1. What a great story. Your generosity helped him out and also modeled something important for your children.

    1. Absolutely. I can't explain how important it is to me that my children learn to be generous. I also drive them crazy reminding them to be grateful!