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Profound Humanism - Pay it Forward
Pay it Forward
In 2007 I took my children and left my abusive husband. I moved far enough away from him that he couldn't easily get ahold of my (literally), yet he was close enough to visit the children.
It was tough at first. Due to his abusive nature he took great strides to make my life, and the life of our children, difficult. He tied up equity from our home in the court system, he quit his job and worked for his mother under the table. He enjoyed the companionship his mother, the paternal grandmother of our children, provided in harassing us by means of public officials and court proceedings.
Despite their persistance the kids and I were happy, financially ruined, but a happy family, we were and are very close.
I took a job with a privately owned bus service. I'll never forget on my first day I took a seat in the garage to talk with my new boss, "D". No sooner had I sat down and her lil dog Feebee hopped up into my lap for me to scratch behind her ears. When Feebee hopped up, D's mouth dropped open and so did her mom's. In unison they said, "She doesn't do that with anybody !" They told me that this sweetheart lil dog was their personal insight into people. She had been so accurate at predicting a person's personality that they came to depend on her for insight about someone they didn't know, and here I sit down and their insightful canine hops into my lap! This doggy endearment set the stage for my relationship with D, she was open to trust me because Feebee trusted me.
I was raised with a responsible work ethic. If you say your going to be there, then be there and be on time. Simple. D enjoyed this about me and commented on how she appreciated the fact that she could rely on me. She confided in me that "more often than not, employee's are flaky".
To keep her thumb on the pulse of her company she would often call us into her office to find out how things are, how we're feeling and if everything is going ok on our route. She talked with us like a fellow employee, if not a dear, respected, friend. I immediately had a great deal of respect for her.
Life at home for me was very challenging. Working, taking care of my children and making certain all my basis were covered. Every week we had two to three visits from the local authorities, prompted by my ex husband and grandmother. It was slowly draining me emotionally. I found my financial affairs slipping out of my control. My ex went to a great effort to forestall any child support and I found, for the first time in my life, that I was the sole source of support for my children. I was coasting into a sea of debt I couldn't get out of.
I had been employed about six weeks when D called me to her office to see how I was getting along with my job. I stepped through the door, into her office and stood by her desk. D is a beautiful woman. She has long golden blond hair, a perfect smile and kind eyes.
She looked up at me and this is how our conversation went:
D : "Hi, so tell me, how's it going out there?"
Me: "Its going good. I'm getting used to my route."
D: "You have three kids, right?"
Me: "Yeah, I do."
D: "Are you guys all settled now into your home, school and stuff?"
Me: "Yeah........ but I think we are going to be moving soon." (I choke up as I speak)
D: "What? Why? You just moved in didn't you?"
Me: (Nodding) "Yeah, but I haven't had any help from my ex at all. He doesn't pay the ordered child or spousal support and I'm beginning to fall behind." (My throat is tightening and I can feel tears pushing their way into the conversation)
D: "How far behind are you?"
Me: "I haven't paid my mortgage this month and I don't have enough for the next month coming up. I gotta find somewhere we can move to......."
D: "What's your rent? Mortgage? You own it right? Yeah, you do, so what's your mortgage?"
Me: (The tears have won and begin their lonely descent down my cheek) "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, its just hard, overwhelming, I thought.......(choke, choke)..I thought I could do this....."
D: (Turns on her calculator and starts punching keys on the ten key while still talking to me. I think she's so cool when she does that!) Clickety, click, tap, tap, zwoop, zwoop, clickety, tap... "Ok, so we have, what uh, bling, clickety - click, floop, floop......your mortgage is????"
Me: "$xxx....(hiccup, sniff, sniff) its, $xxxx.xx a month." (More tears, now I'm breathing that funky way when you cry, nose is running, can't see much with the pooling of tears in my eyes)
D: "So we got", clickety-click, tap, tap, and then.... floop, floop, "got it, ok". (Now she swivels her seat around to face her computer, click, tap, tap and click. She bends and pulls a piece of paper out of the printer, writes something on it and then holds it out toward me)
Me: (Nearly blind from the tears, I can barely distinguish what it is. I take the paper and try to blink the tears away so I can see what she has just handed me. I think its a check, blurry, with number's and letter's. Its coming into focus, it IS a check) "Oh, wow D! I can't take this! It's very kind of you, but I can't! I can't pay my mortgage in the first place let alone try to repay........"
D: "Take it. I don't want it back. As a matter of fact don't even try to give it back to me because I won't take it. Go pay your mortgage. This should cover you for last month, this month and get you through next month. You need some breathing room, you need someone to give you a break so you can take care of your babies and yourself. Now go."
Me: (Now I'm really falling apart. I'm thinking about how horrible my ex husband and mother-in-law are to the kids and I. How the two of them are trying so hard to destroy me which would ultimately destroy the children. The people who are supposed to care about me are the ones doing their damndest to destroy me with my children. Now, this woman I barely know as my employer, wants to give me a break, some breathing room, time to take care of my babies. Stammering, I try to thank her with all my heart!)
D: (With absolute kindness in her beautiful green eyes she says) "Just do me one favor."
Me: "Yes, anything for you. What?"
D: "Just Pay it Forward. That's all I ask."
Me: "Of course. I will. I love you D."
D: "I love you too."
I paid my mortgage that afternoon. The money gave me enough of a boost that I was able to get my feet back under me. That was all I needed, someone to give me a break, some breathing room. We lived in that house for five more years, thanks to D. As I promised, I Pay it Forward. I really do.
I will never forget what she did for me and my children. I try to model my own behavior after her. I look for opportunites to Pay it Forward. I think of her every time I find an opportunity to pass it on. Thank you D from the very depth of my heart.
As to my ex-husband and his mother "the grandmother". Well, the grandmother initiated a custody evaluation. All the garbage my ex-husband had fed her she took for the truth. She paid the entire cost of the evaluation believing that I would lose custody. Three psychological tests, drug testing by hair sample, five one-on-one sessions with the psychiatrist and his mother's $6,000, I was found to be a healthy, model parent. The psychological evaluation report, submitted to the court, reflected the close, loving relationship I have with my children. It also strongly recommended to the court that the grandmother be granted limited exposure to the children. He advised that she should never be left alone with the children. It was also reported that "she is a danger to the mental health of the children and her anger, in his professional opinion, will not subside in the near future or ever". She was allowed one hour, supervised visits with the children every other week.