Author Avery Smith

Years ago, my sister and I went to paint pottery at this local place. Our dad had given us money for each of us to paint one thing, but I had miscounted the money and we ended up being $20 short. At this time I was terrified of my dad and was on the verge of tears when we got to the register.

This awesome lady tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a $20. I tried to refuse but she insisted, and said that all she asked was that someday I ‘paid it forward’. In tears, I thanked her and paid. My stepdad came soon after to pick us up, and I told him about what happened. I just couldn’t believe that lady had been so nice, I was raving about her.

My mother, on the other hand, took it as an insult. She sat me down and scolded me for accepting the money, saying we weren’t poor and didn’t need it. I was appalled at her reaction, but me being around 11–12 years old, I told her I was sorry and that was that. To this day I still can’t believe how upset she was about it, but I’ve paid it forward several times since. I view money as an object, and while I make sure I have plenty, if I happen to have extra and someone needs a little bit, I will always give.

I do the same with other things as well. A few months ago a friend was moving, so I let her use my storage unit so she wouldn’t have to pay for one herself. She offered to pay but I refused. This whole “pay it forward” thing is really just paying with kindness. You’ll be surprised at how many people will be extremely grateful for such little things. Not everyone will be, and there is always someone who will try to take advantage of you, but I don’t mind. Knowing that I did something kind for someone, whether they care or not, is good enough for me.

Here’s another example… except this time I can’t take the credit. We had this old car a few years ago – a 2006 Chrysler I believe. My dad was driving with my sister and saw this young couple with their two young children walking down the highway. He promptly pulled over and asked them where they were going, and offered them a ride. They got in and told him about how the dad was struggling to get a job and that they couldn’t afford a car. We had already been looking at new cars, and ours was valued at like $1000, so my dad decided to just give our old car to them. They were incredibly grateful. Dad went with them to get the car signed over and he also paid all the related fees – around $100. Now, since my dad grew up incredibly poor he isn’t normally one to give things like that away… but he did it, and in making that choice he really and truly helped those people out.

I like to think kindness is infectious…..

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