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: Pay It Forward

Hundreds Pay it Forward at McDonald’s Drive-Thru

A McDonald’s customer in Florida wanted to pay it forward at the drive-thru window with a “Merry Christmas,” not “Happy Holidays.”

McDonald’s cashier Marisabel Figueroa Lopez was working the drive-thru window last Wednesday when she says a woman drove up and told the employee that she wanted to pay for the car behind her.

“She gave me her card, and she said I would like for you to tell her [the customer in the car behind her] a message. And I was like ‘Okay.’ She said I want you to tell her to have a ‘Merry Christmas’,” Lopez told Fox 13.

The cashier went on to explain that the woman specifically asked Lopez to say “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays.”

Lopez said she thought the idea of paying it forward was a great idea.

But the spirit of Christmas giving didn’t end there. A chain reaction of customers paying it forward continued throughout the afternoon. From about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 250 people had paid for the car behind them, says Lopez who began keeping track on a piece of paper after the 15th customer came through.

When the 251st customer arrived, she seemed confused by the concept, according to Lopez.

“She was speechless,” the cashier told Bay News 9. “She said, ‘What do I do?’ And I said, ‘You just have a Merry Christmas,’ and she went off, and it stopped right there.”

Still the cashier was amazed by how long the chain lasted and hopes it inspired others around the country.

“It’s the spirit of giving — she felt like she could start something. And she did. I want to tell that person out there, ‘Thank you.’”

Story from FoxNews.com

You can read the original story here.

Reddit’s Teacher Aid

According to a recent survey taken by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, teachers pay for 77 percent of the supplies needed in the classroom. RedditGifts wanted to change that.

The program matches donators with teachers to ship them the supplies that they need to focus on teaching their kids without worrying about a lack of resources. As of August, 14,000 teachers had signed up for help and 10,000 donators had answered the call. It’s a brilliant, easy way to help — the best kind of paying it forward that exists.

Story by Victor Beigelman, APlus.com

You can read the original story here.

Free Slice Post-Its

Mason Wartman runs a pizza shop in Philadelphia appropriately named Wartman’s. In an effort to help out homeless people in the city, which is a serious issue, he hatched a plan to allow customers to spend an extra dollar to prepay for a slice of pizza, then put a Post-It on the wall. Homeless people could then redeem the Post-It for a free slice, and as of February, the restaurant had given away more than 10,000 slices of pizza. Paying it forward at its best.

Story by Victor Beigelman, APlus.com

You can read the original story here.

The Booster Seat a Cop Didn’t Have to Buy

When Emmett Township Public Safety Officer Ben Hall pulled over a woman for a traffic violation, he saw that her 5-year-old son wasn’t sitting in a booster seat, which he absolutely should have been in. Instead of giving Alexis DeLorenzo a ticket, Hall drove promptly over to Walmart, given that DeLorenzo said she knew the boy should be in a booster seat but couldn’t afford one.

“It was the easiest 50 bucks I ever spent,” he told Fox.

DeLorenzo was beyond touched by the gesture, and said, “As soon as I can afford it, I will be paying forward.”

Story by Victor Beigelman, APlus.com

You can read the original story here.

The 378-Person-Long Starbucks Line of Good Deeds

Most pay-it-forward lines in which someone pays for the order behind them don’t last more than a few people, if even that. But after a woman at a Starbucks in St. Petersburg, Fla., paid for her iced coffee and the caramel macchiato a customer behind her ordered, the line continued for a whopping 378 people. Everyone accepted their free drink and paid for the customer behind them all the way up until 6 p.m. that night when the 379th person ordered a coffee and declined to pay for the next one. Apparently they didn’t understand the concept of paying it forward, but it’s pretty incredible it lasted that long to begin with.

Story by Victor Beigelman, APlus.com

You can read the original story here.

“You know, I used to come here for help.”

I am the director of a nonprofit organization that cares for homeless and runaway teenagers and young adults in Burlington, Vermont. On one beautiful Autumn day, I had family in town who were visiting, so I took the day off and we spent the afternoon walking down the main pedestrian walkway, Church Street, having lunch and going into different shops. Toward the end of the day, as we were preparing to get in our cars and head back, I decided to go into my office to get my mail and take it home. I had a key to the rear door and planned to simply slip inside, make my way to the mailroom unbeknownst to anyone, and quietly leave.

My plan went flawlessly until, as I walked towards the mailroom, I glanced toward the front desk, where the office receptionist is usually seated. She greets teenagers and young adults as they arrive to see their counselor. But this time, for some reason she was not present, and I made eye contact with a young man standing there. His facial expression clearly signaled, “Can you help me?” I did not stop, instead proceeding into the mailroom, thinking, This is my day off. I hardly ever take a day off. I don’t want to get pulled into this situation, whatever it may be.

Then my conscience got the better of me. He’s probably just here to see his counselor, I reasoned. Let me ask him who he is here to see, and I will simply call up, it will take two seconds.

So I did that, I approached him and asked if I could help, and he surprised me by lifting up a shopping bag full of clothes. “We’re here to donate these,” he said. It was then that I noticed a young woman by his side.

“That’s so nice,” I replied. “Thank you very much. Will you please write down your name and address so we can properly thank you?” I passed over a sheet of paper, which the young woman took and on which she started writing.

He stood there while she wrote, fidgeting a bit, and he seemed a little nervous. After a few seconds he said, “You know, I used to come here for help.”

“Really?” I replied.

“Yes, to your Drop-In Center around the corner. I’d go there to get meals and clothing. And I lived there too, upstairs.”

“In our shelter?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied. “I was homeless then, and you took me in.”

I then asked the question I always ask of someone I meet who had previously used our services.

“Did we help you? Did you have a good experience with us?”

He laughed and said, “I sure did.” He pointed at the woman next to him who by now was finished writing, and said, “That’s how I met my wife!”

She had a big smile on her face and said, “That’s right. I was homeless too and you took me in. We met at the shelter, fell in love and this coming St. Patrick’s Day will be our fourth wedding anniversary.”

I’ve worked with homeless and runaway youth for 34 years and had never heard a story like this. I stood there and said, “You’re telling me you were each homeless, got help from us, and now you are coming back to help the kids who are here now?”

They nodded in agreement.

“You’re paying it forward,” I said. “Good for you.”

I shook their hands, thanked them profusely, and they left.

I have thought of this encounter many times since it occurred. There are so many lessons to be learned, but the principal one is really about paying it forward. The phrase became popular in the year 2000 with the release of the movie, Pay It Forward, but then really took off a few years ago when customers began paying the bill for the next person in line at a McDonald’s or similar establishment. But what this young man and woman did felt very different from that. It reminded me of the whole idea that while it is important to be appreciative of and thankful to the people who helped you at certain points in your life, and to “pay it back” to them if at all possible, it is equally if not more important to pay it forward, to try and help people you may not even know, perhaps complete strangers, who are now in a similar situation to where you once were and could use your help.

That’s what this young couple was doing. It’s what I think we all should do and parents in particular should teach their children to do. Yes, thank those people who helped you in various ways in your life, be they parents, relatives, coaches, pastors, friends, job supervisors, whomever. But the truest way to honor those people is to turn around and help the people who are struggling now, even if you don’t know their names, and even if they never know yours.

Story by Mark Redmond, HuffingtonPost.com

You can read the original story here.

Tim, The Stranger

My husband and I had a rough first week of 2016. At the end of the week, “Tim” entered. I went to pick up our usual Friday night date food. There was a gentleman waiting in line and an elderly couple ahead of him. Once they were done ordering he politely said I could go I front of him. I accepted and thanked him for that. After I placed my order he quietly said, “I’ve got this.” At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on and then he ordered his food with mine and paid for my dinner! I was shocked and speechless. Choking back tears I asked him why he did that. He replied: “Why not?” I asked him his name and he shrugged and said “Tim.” Then I told him my husband and I had paid for someone’s groceries over the holidays and he said “That’s why, and that’s how we are supposed to be with each other.” I went back to my car and cried because it was such a rough week! My uncle died. Work was unusually rough. My husband and I were exhausted. “Tim” made me smile and have faith in people who are just happy to do something nice for someone without any motives at all. I thanked him and gave him the biggest hug and told him he was amazing! Good people exist and God exists in them!

Submitted by Donna from Charleston SC

Story from RandomActsofKindness.org

Struggling to Make Ends Meet

One summer I was really having a tough time. My husband had left me, I was broke, and diagnosed with a serious medical condition. While I had a job, I was barely making ends meet and I didn’t have enough to get the prescription I needed filled.

I decided to attend a women’s meeting and when we broke into small groups to share what was going on in our lives, I just broke down sobbing. I told my group what was going on, cried for a while and then felt a little better. After the meeting was over, one of the ladies handed me a $20 bill to get my prescription. A lady named Justine asked me to walk with her to her car where she wrote out a check for $100. I was so blown away! I didn’t have words to express my gratitude. She asked me not to pay her back and said she wished it was more. I hugged her and have always remembered her fondly. At that moment I vowed to pass it on, though I didn’t know how or when. Several times I met people that I considered paying it forward to, but just didn’t have the extra $100.

Fast forward five years. My life has improved considerably. I have a wonderful new boyfriend, a job I enjoy, a nice home, good health, loved ones, all is pretty well. As the holidays were approaching, my best friend confided in me that he was having a hard time making ends meet. His salary covered the basics but didn’t leave much for extras and he didn’t know how he was going to buy presents for his three kids at Christmas and was really stressed out about it. I didn’t have much money, but I had a little bit in savings. I didn’t really have to buy presents for anyone and was planning to spend some money on gifts for myself.

Out of the recesses of my mind came the idea to pay forward the kindness Justine had showed me. I thought about it and prayed about it and it felt right. I told him the story of that summer day and what Justine had done for me. I told him I wanted to pay it forward to him for Christmas presents for his kids. He was astounded and accepted. I felt gladdened that I could pass on the generosity that Justine had shared with me.

Story from Values.com

You can read the original story here.