Pay It Forward

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Saturday morning pancakes and the gym probably do not sound like they should go together but they do for me weekly.

This past week something happened that changed my day and how to view things that happen to you unexpectedly.

Since my beloved Denny’s has become a Chase Bank, Pancakes R Us on 17th Street has become the go to place for me, and many others.

Recently after having finished pancakes with a friend and reading through the Independent, a surprise happened.

A woman was sitting alone enjoying her morning breakfast. I briefly smiled at her before we took the booth next to her. Then, something that has never happened to me before, happened.

The woman paid for our breakfast and told the hostess to let us know as she exited the restaurant.

That act changed my day. Our breakfast conversation turned to giving and the power of random acts of kindness, a show and story Oprah Winfrey did a few years back, encouraging all of us to each day randomly do something nice for a person or persons we do not know.

My friend and I were very appreciative that someone would do this and wondered what we should do next. This person simply wanted to do something nice for two people in the spirit of giving irrespective of need.

We accepted the gift knowing that we both practice giving back on a regular basis and do our best to pass on random acts of kindness in many ways throughout the year. We felt that the person who paid for our breakfast truly intended for us to enjoy her gift, so while many of us have a difficult time accepting gifts and acts of kindness, we needed to enjoy and appreciate this and continue to find ways to “pay it forward to others.”

This random act caused us to have a smile on our faces all day, prompted us to share the story at the gym. It caused conversation and thoughtful reflection for others whom we shared the story with all day long.

What a wonderful way to start the New Year, reminding others what simple acts of kindness promote, and how much better our world could be if all of us truly practiced doing one kind thing daily for others.

You readers may be saying but what if I cannot pay for a person’s meal or cover other monetary needs?

This is the not a deal breaker, money is not the only avenue; there are multiple ways to share kindnesses and thoughtfulness through personal actions. One of the things I have been doing for a long time involves my weekly trip to the post office mailbox off of Riverside Drive. There is really only one space for a car to drive up and drop off mail in the box. However, two or three cars try to squeeze in as a general rule and it starts to block the street. When I arrive first at the mailbox and see others waiting behind me I simply go to their car and offer to take their mail and drop it in along with mine. I cannot believe the surprised look on people’s faces and the gratefulness through a smile for saving them time and keeping them from having to get out of the car.

Another simple thing to do is help people struggling to get out of a car or into a restaurant with a heavy door is to simply offer to help.

Acts of kindness provide a benefit for both people and a smile can keep you going all day long. The question is not whether or not we need help or our meal prepaid by a stranger. The big idea is that through random acts of kindness – which all of us at all stages in our lives can benefit from – is how much better our lives become when we are both a giver and receiver of these acts, and how passing them forward in various forms makes a better world for all of us in which to live, work, and play.

So this week, think of one thing you can do that is a random act of kindness, and you can almost be assured that person will find a way to pay it forward to the next.

One less “selfie picture” and one more concrete daily action can change you.

Thank you, “pays it forward person,” for your act of kindness to us at Pancakes R Us.

We will pass it on.


That’s My Take

Dr. Gloria J. Alkire






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