Pay it forward.
These three simple words pack a huge punch. This phrase represents an act that has the capability of reaching many and the potential to change lives. The generosity of one person can lead to the generosity of many. Something as simple as giving a homeless man the opportunity learn web programming can lead to the creation of an app that aims to reduce the number of automobiles on the road by encouraging carpooling.
Something as simple as handing someone 5 dollars can bring light into a life that was encased in darkness and hopelessness; offering a wide smile can brighten up the day of another. If it is this simple to follow the guidelines of paying it forward, why don’t more of us step up to the plate and do it?
I got slapped in the face with the truth a few days ago.
There is this video created by a group of college-aged boys circulating throughout the internet. The beginning of the video features a boy asking for food from people in a food court. No one would give this boy any food, not even one french fry. To test their theory that those who have nothing are more generous than those who are more fortunate, these guys went out and gave money and food to random homeless people. As the video progressed, the same boy who was asking for food in the food court went and asked for food from the homeless man who had just received two hamburgers from McDonalds. The homeless man handed the boy a hamburger without hesitation, inviting the boy to sit down and eat with him.
The video then shows the same boy going up to the homeless man who had received money and asking for a dollar. The homeless man pulled out a single from his back pocket without a second thought and handed it over, exclaiming how he had just received 10 dollars from a random stranger. Those who seem worse off are actually better off in their hearts. They have hearts of giving.
This well-made video stuck me right to the core. I thought back on every time that I had lied saying “Oh, I don’t have any money on me”, when asked. I have been too engrossed in my own worries and greed that I have completely ignored the needs of others. One person may not be able to change the world, but imagine the power of five, twenty, one hundred, and more!
Imagine a domino. One domino affects the outcome of one thousand dominoes. A chain reaction can begin with one person. Today, I challenge you, just as I challenge myself, to face the day with the perspective of changing the world one smile at a time, one dollar at a time, and one person at a time.