Pay It Forward In The New Year

Ray Burkart

On a recent Sunday morning, I woke my wife, Betty, to get ready for church. She said she was very tired and needed to sleep in.  I made her breakfast and put it on the table with her morning pills. It was still pretty early, so I decided to stop at McDonald’s for a quick breakfast. When I was ready to leave, I noticed another family was gathering their trash and I asked if I could dispose of it for them.  They acted a little surprised, but accepted and expressed their appreciation.

                                    A simple gesture, no big deal.

We needed a few groceries, so on the way home, I planned to stop at Walmart.  On my way in, I gathered and pushed a couple of carts into the store. One for me and one to add to the pile there for others. I try to do that wherever there are carts.

                                     A simple gesture, no big deal.

While in the store, I saw a packaged kitchen knife laying on the floor, picked it up and hung it back where it belonged.  I often find things that people have removed from their carts and placed where they do not belong. Sometimes, even frozen foods. It is just easy to put them back where they belong or give them to the cashier when checking out.

                                      A simple gesture, no big deal.

Betty’s son, Chip, stopped by our Villa about noontime to chat. He is good about visiting his mom on most Sunday’s.  By the time he left, it was too late to go to our, always great, Plantation Village Sunday brunch.  I hoped I was not missing one of those special prime rib Sunday’s !  We talked about where to go eat and, in spite of my meager efforts to lose a little weight, we chose the Italian Bistro.  We each has a glass of wine, fresh bread with olive oil/garlic dip and a big bowl of ravioli, mine with spicy Italian sausage and Betty’s with meat sauce.  It was excellent, as usual, and way too much, but “we ate the whole thing” ! I got the credit card out of my wallet and motioned for the waitress to bring the bill. She came over to our table and quietly said “your bill has been taken care of” !!  We, of course, we were shocked and I asked if she would tell us who our benefactor was. She said she would ask if he was willing to reveal that information and returned to the kitchen.  When she returned, she said the person wanted to remain anonymous. Remembering that Chip had heard us discuss where we might eat, I asked her if it might be Chip Patton.  She said she couldn’t say yes and she couldn’t say no.  I then asked if the person had also left a sufficient tip.  After confirming he did, she then confided that the person had “paid for the dinner and tip for everyone in the restaurant at the time !!! Wow, we sat there stunned for a bit. There must have been close to 30 people in there. Nope, it was not Chip !!

              Now, that’s NOT a simple gesture and is a BIG DEAL !!

Talk about “pay it forward”.  That was a pretty big one !!  I have done a few small deeds like paying for a few groceries for someone in front of or behind me in a checkout line, but nothing approaching this !

This incident makes me want to be more aware of future opportunities to PAY IT FORWARD for someone and do in it in an anonymous way.  Care to join me?