Pay It Forward license plate

Paying It Forward, With Interest

Can you double the impact of the last good deed you received?

The Good Turns blog exists not just to celebrate the good deeds we see around us every day, but to inspire them as well. One good turn we read about recently gave us the idea to challenge you, our readers, to see if you can match the pay-it-forward spirit of the story.

Michigan’s Livingston Daily recently reported on an elderly man who’d forgotten his wallet when he’d gone grocery shopping just before Christmas. Rather than let him go home empty-handed, however, the couple behind him in line took it upon themselves to do him a good turn, buying the $45 worth of groceries for him.

The man, Dan Wesner, 80 years old, was touched and surprised. But instead of simply letting the good deed end there, he chose to echo it himself — and even to amplify it, by donating not $45 but $90 to the Salvation Army.

“The next time someone does you a good turn, can you pay it forward with interest?”

As we look for stories of good turns, we are constantly impressed by the spirit of generosity that shows itself in so many walks of life. In this case, it would have been enough for Wesner to have donated $45  to charity. But he chose to double that gift, “paying forward” the value he’d received, and adding an equal amount as a good deed of his own.

That deed has inspired us to ask if you can do the same. When we’re on the receiving end of a good deed, many of us “pay it forward” by giving the same gift we just received — as if the favor has put us into debt that we now have to pay back. But there’s something about paying it forward in equal measure that’s merely leveling the score. To really do a selfless act of charity, why not go further? So the next time someone does you a good turn, can you pay it forward with interest? Can you do the same for someone else, and then do a little more?

If you can, we’d love to hear from you. And in any case, no good turn is a waste of effort. So tell us about your good deeds large or small.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user gammaman)
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