Sometimes paying it forward involves doing someone a simple kindness or a good turn, sometimes it involves something financial. The whole idea is to continue the cycle of being kind to one another, spreading decency like a virus.
Think of Ebola with a super hero cape instead of skull and crossbones.
So last night after work I'm at Ralphs doing some grocery shopping. As usual that time of day, the store was packed and the check out lines long. There was an elderly lady in front of me at the cashier. She was in a dither because she couldn't find her wallet. The cashier was very patient and pleasant and asked if she could put the woman's grocery items aside and help the other customers in line, which the woman agreed to while she continued her hunt. When the cashier started checking me out, I told the her to add the other woman's groceries to my bill and I paid for both.
Before you think I'm being super noble, trust me, together our groceries totaled less than $45.00.
Anyway, our groceries were bagged and when they handed the woman her bag, she was confused. The checker told her I'd paid for them. The woman made a slight stink, saying I couldn't do that. I told her it was my pleasure and that we all found ourselves without our wallets from time to time.
Good deed done and over. Right? Wrong.
By the time I loaded my two bags into the trunk of my car, got inside and buckled up, the woman had hunted me down. Wedging herself and her cart between my car and the next she continued to insist that I could not pay for her groceries. This went on for a long time, even though I insisted several times that it was no big deal and that I needed to get home, and also pointed out that the people in the car next to mine were trying to pull out and couldn't with her in the way. The woman barely moved, the vehicle slowly maneuvered out, and she continued to block the now empty and valuable parking spot, which I think in LA is a crime punishable by jail time.
Eventually we exchanged information since the woman was determined to do me a kindness in return and it was obvious she wasn't going to let me go with just a simple thank you. Satisfied, she left. A man and woman immediately pulled their vehicle into the parking spot next to me. The man, who was driving, ranted and raved at me through the passenger side open window, saying how rude and inconsiderate I was to block a parking spot. Seriously, he was red in the face with rage and I thought he was going to have a stroke.
So here's the moral to the story...
I'm sure you're thinking I'm going to say no good deed goes unpunished, but no, I'm not going to be that negative and sarcastic. After all, I was only embarrassed and no one died.
No, the moral to this story is ...
Continue to pay it forward, in spite of crazy people screaming about parking.
If someone does you a good deed, do not embarrass your benefactor by making a scene. Say a heartfelt thank you and move along, determined to do the same for someone else when the opportunity arises.