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Can You Pay it Forward?

Updated on February 4, 2012

A Holiday Story

December 15, 2010

While I have no problem with proclaiming my faith and the celebration of a great event around this time of year, I chose this title for a reason.

Instead of doing something kind for no reason other than doing something kind at this time of year, I suggest we all try to do a kindness throughout the year. I have practiced this in my life, probably not enough but still encourage everyone to pay it forward as it were.

If you don’t have money in these cash strapped times, think about donating to the Salvation Army or Good Will or in our area of Michigan we have Volunteers of America. Find out what they need and go through those items sitting on your shelves. You clean up your home and donate to a worthy charity all at the same time. It’s a win win.

Your time can be precious too. Think about volunteering for the American Red Cross a fantastic organization, or your local soup kitchen. If you can’t commit to regular hours of volunteering, maybe just once a month or once every three months.

Then there’s the little critters. In these lean economic times, we found out in our county there is no more animal control. The Humane Society is so overburdened it’s impossible to place all their animals. If you can’t adopt a pet, think about just being a “foster home” for one of these needy animals until they can be placed in a good home. I did animal rescue for about 15 years to include animal transport which is an organized effort to take animals slated to be killed to a city or town where foster homes have been found. I have also been a foster home for so many animals I can’t remember them all.

In light of this spirit of giving, it is true that giving equals receiving. My mother has said for years, “Carol, when are you going to get paid for all that you do? You are always volunteering your time, when are you going to get some well deserved money for all of your hard work?”

I have volunteered for Michael English – for almost a decade. I feel I have received far more than I given. I recently finished up a year of volunteering for Marcher Lord Press because I loved the kind of family reading this small indie publisher produced.

As I have always told my Mom, “God keeps the score Mom, God gives back in His own way. He knows what I do.” And something happened to me recently that proves my contention.

My husband and I are fortunate enough to have the ability to purchase season Club seats for the Detroit Lions football games two years in a row. The whole experience at Ford Field is terrific to include tailgating prior to the game.

There’s a whole science to this tailgating I’ve come to understand. The crew we tailgate with has a set-up as fine as any indoor buffet. However, due to the nature of tailgating, it is done outdoors and recently, I went on E-bay to search for a warm fur coat, a kind of casual coat to wear to these pre-game parties. My budget was $150.00 because I wanted a very warm coat that looked nice but that I wouldn’t mind the smell of a pit fire clinging to, or even a beer or two spilled on it inside the stadium.

I found a sheared beaver full length coat for $65.00. I asked the seller if there were any odors like mildew/mold etc. and her reply was nope, it was in pristine condition.

By the time we had actually finished our exchange, the auction was actually over with no one bidding and no one taking the “Buy it now” option.

When she answered she also asked if I was really an army wife. My Ebay user name is u_s_army_wife. I’ve had that user name for years even though my husband is currently retired.

I told her that although retired, my husband served in Iraq and Afghanistan and my son returned from Afghanistan this past July 2010.

She wrote back that she wanted to give me the coat as a thank you – the least she could do for my husband’s service, for my son’s service and for all that I have done.

I protested. I told her thank God, but we could afford the price of the coat as listed and that I wanted to at least pay for her shipping and any relisting costs etc. I ended it with, “Deal?”

She emailed, “No deal.” She simply wanted to give me the coat.

It arrived a few days later, wrapped for Christmas, warm, nice and heavy and suitable for even the coldest day of tailgating. You can see the photos with me wearing it with some of our tailgating friends. I am still stunned by the kindness of this woman and her husband from New Jersey.

Giving equals receiving. This is for Christians, Jews, or even those of you who claim no faith. It feels great when you give and ultimately, there’s a pay back in more ways than you can imagine.

Consider what it is that you can do to pay it forward. The rewards are endless!

I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a blessed and Giving New Year!


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    • cjv123 profile image

      Carol 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for reading and commenting caltex!

    • caltex profile image

      caltex 6 years ago

      Inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story. Loved it!

    • cjv123 profile image

      Carol 6 years ago from Michigan

      Yes, I have seen that movie and I agree, it was very inspirational. Thanks for stopping by!


    • calliemorris profile image

      calliemorris 6 years ago from London

      Lovely story! Have you ever seen the movie Pay It Forward? With Haley Joel Osment? It's emotional..! In life you definitely get back what you put in...

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for good perspective Carol. The story about the coat brought tears to my eyes. All I could think of was "if it made you feel good that the lady wanted to give you the coat for those reasons, can you just imagine how good it made her feel to do it." Both of you were truly blessed in that transaction and you look terrific in the coat as well! Thanks for sharing a really great story! WB

    • cjv123 profile image

      Carol 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Neil. You are perfectly right. There are countless ways to give. Sometimes all it takes is a smile. Very good point! Thanks for leaving your comments.

    • cjv123 profile image

      Carol 7 years ago from Michigan

      American - it's tough, I feel it sometimes too. But that's not going to work. Then you know what? We stoop to their gutter level with hatred. Look what we can accomplish by just standing up for the constitution?

      Thanks for you honest comments.


    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Even giving a word of praise or a pat on the back is giving. Giving of ones time is the most valuable in my opinion. Why? Because money can come and go..... time only goes!

      Give a kind word - I took time to rate this up!

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 7 years ago from America

      All I can say is Praise God, Thank you America! How come when I read a story like this it makes me hate liberals? When I read of true red blooded Americans, I actually have hate well up in my heart towards liberals! I guess because I know they would never act like us! voted up!

    • profile image

      TimBryce 7 years ago

      Carol -

      As I tell my Masonic brothers, imagine if everyone did just one thing, large or small. Wow!

      Great article.

      All the Best,


    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Carol, you are an amazing human being and I am proud to know you. I would have given you the coat too. Enjoy it, it's beautiful! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • munirahmadmughal profile image

      munirahmadmughal 7 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan.

      "Can you pay it forward".

      The hub is informative.

      Out of many roles one is to help the poor, the needy, the deprived, the one under heavy debts, the compelled by the circumstances, the one in search of knowledge, the traveller who exhausts all he possesses by use or by loss. The spending is according to capacity. Bit by bit the consruction is completed. A little help may solve the problem of the many. Miserliness is not manliness. Reward is there but those who spend on others even without for any reward are certainly a step a head.

      May God bless all.