You’ve heard of “paying it forwards.”
So, how about “paying it backwards”? Tell us about your stories of generosity.
The holidays are the traditional season for generosity – freely giving to friends, family and those in need. In economic times like these, giving can be a challenge. So let’s consider ways of giving that may not cost much money, if anything at all.
The idea of “paying it forwards” is that the beneficiary of a favor or act of generosity doesn’t repay the benefactor but a third party. Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein made paying it forward a theme in a 1951 book, and the concept was popularized in the 2000 film, “Pay It Forward.” There’s even a huge Facebook group devoted to the film and the concept.
The movement goes on and on. Check out the humanitarian Heinlein Society and the Pay It Forward Movement.
What’s new about all this? Well, here’s a variation of paying it forward that occurred this month at a Starbucks in Iowa. One generous customer at the drive-up window paid for the car behind – that’s why I call it paying it “backwards” – and this act of generosity was repeated through a chain of more than 50 cars. You can see the video of it here.
This is not the first instance of paying it backwards. Here’s an earlier one – also involving coffee – in Loveland, Colorado.
The net financial result for most of the payers is zero. Instead of paying for your own latte, for example, your pay for someone else’s. It’s a wash, financially. But a chain of generosity in these tough times is created in the process.
I’ve shared these stories with my students, and more than one went out and did the same – maybe at a coffee shop or a highway toll booth.
How about you?
Have you seen or participated in these acts of paying it forward or paying it backwards?
Tell us what you think about any of these questions.
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