Early last week I arrived in the office one morning to find a letter to the editor sitting on my desk which I found to be problematic.
The letter itself was fine, but we have a policy of not publishing an item that isn’t signed, plus I take the discretion to decide what we’ll run and what we won’t.
I wanted to run this particular piece of mail even though it came anonymously because it was good news, something I feel like in recent times we need more of in our lives if we can get it.
Here’s the letter:.
“Please I would like to thank the person that ‘paid it forward’ at the Rockmart Dairy Queen Thursday. I bought one dinner my husband and I were going to share because I didn’t have but $10 and we needed milk. We don’t get paid until the 10th of the month. I know God sent you.
“Thank you, I will do the same when we get paid.”
The letter came anonymously, no return address or anything to identify who might have sent it.
It reminded me — especially after an evening spent dealing with car problems somewhat of my own making in the parking lot of Cedartown Middle School on Monday evening last week during the championship games — that all of us live or die by the family and friends we surround ourselves with, and also in those strangers who sometimes make a difference in our lives.
My car would still be in the parking lot if not for the help of my own family and friends when called upon, all of who are owed a great debt of gratitude which I hope to repay when I’m called upon to do so.
Paying it forward doesn’t require much reason other than the desire to give back either.
Take this past week’s story we included about the upcoming blood drive that Polk County Police’s Andy Anderson is organizing for later in the month.
Now here’s a good example of someone trying to pay it forward: a guy who is already busy enough as a police officer is taking time out of his life not only to go and donate blood and platelets regularly, but he’s also organizing a drive to help increase the amount of blood available.
And he’s looking for more to do in his spare time to help the community. Isn’t that a good example we should all celebrate?
Both of these are uplifting reminders in uncertain times of the value of paying it forward we should all take to heart.
It’s easy to take whatever help can be given by those in need, but much harder to contribute back even to strangers in need when we’re all confronted with a problem.
Whether we call it karma, or good luck, or just pitching in when needed, all of us have at one point in our lives benefitted from the kindness of strangers.
Just be sure when it comes time to help someone else in need to remember those moments when you were helped out, and be like the person at Dairy Queen paying for a meal or Anderson, who is going above and beyond to help the community.
Those generous spirits remind us all that paying it forward ultimately comes at no real cost that matters, and provides inspiration for us all to do better.