“All I Ask is That You Pay It Forward”

In the 2000 movie Pay it Forward, a young schoolboy comes up with an ingenious idea to change the world for the better. His idea is to help three people do something they can’t do for themselves, and to ask them, instead of paying him back, to thank him by giving help to three other people, who in turn will give thanks by doing something for three other people, and so on. Not a great film, but the pay it forward idea has power.

I’ve mentioned that we recently moved to St. Paul. Shortly after we moved, my friend Steve came for a visit. Upon his departure last Tuesday morning, he told me he had ordered a gift that we would receive two days later.

The day came and went and no package arrived. A couple of days later, I checked with Steve and we realized that he sent the package to the wrong address: my new house number is 1544 and he sent it to 544.

We gave the package up for lost. But several days later I received an e-mail with the re line, “Might I have your package?” The person who lived at 544 tracked me down, having found a package with my name outside of his door. Not only that, but rather than asking me to come get it, he dropped it by house the other day.

When I wrote again to say thank you, he wrote back saying, “No trouble at all. All I ask is that you pay it forward to someone else someday!”

I smiled when I read it. What better payback for a kindness than to pay it forward. And I plan to.

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