Pay It Forward Day: April 28, 2011

Today, an email mysteriously appeared in my inbox from someone I don't know.  It is an announcement for the upcoming Pay It Forward Day for Thursday, April 28, 2011.

The idea is simple.  Do something nice for 1-3 people and ask them to pay it forward to someone else.  Printable cards are available on the website to facilitate this process.  Please feel free to share any ideas and experiences you have, here.




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Pay It Forward video interview

Pay It Forward – How does it work?

You may be just one person in this world, but to one person, at one time, you are the world. Imagine if each individual looked for the opportunity to help others each day. Imagine the difference that would make.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

  • Can for kindness – you can collect cans of non perishable foods and give to refuge or other organization who would benefit
  • Soap Saver – Getting a bunch of people who all travel for work and stay at lots of hotels to donate the free soap, shampoo and conditioner towards a group that would benefit
  • Book Giving – Collect books and distribute to needy groups (which might be in a poor country)
  • Charity Day – Sausage sizzle, selling chocolates etc. to raise money for a local charity in need
  • Hospital – many patients have to pay for the use of the television……..perhaps you can ask the company involved to offer discounted or free TV for patients on PIFD
  • Buying the train or bus ticket for the person behind you (+give them a card)
  • Donating some of your professional services to someone in need on the day – free hour consultation / etc….
  • Buy a stranger a cup of coffee and leave a Pay it Forward card for them
  • On a rainy day, buy a few umbrella’s and give them to those who don’t have one and are getting wet. You could attach a Pay it Forward Card to the umbrella
  • Visit your local church and ask if there is any family that might need your help
  • You may consider becoming a Pay it Forward champion and promoting the day to your local community. That way, more people of all ages are inspired to pay the kindness forward

The possibilities are endless. Who will you make smile today?


Wendy's picture

 I have often thought when a stranger gives me some kindness, or I to them who really got the best deal. Whenever I can do something nice for someone else, that I know really makes a difference - not in their life but just helps them at that moment I just feel wonderful for the rest of that day, maybe even a few days if it was something really helpful. Sometimes the gift is letting someone else giving a gift to you - knowing that they get to have that great feeling of having helped someone...

Francis's picture

of the concept when a buddhist saves someone's life he who did the saving owes the person he saved for the rest of his life.  The person who was saved did the highest honor to the other - inverts everything we've been indoctrinated to believe and the implications of this concept are beautiful, far-reaching and retain the hopeful opportunity of our present circumstances once we get it right.

Noa's picture

The magic in this Pay It Forward concept, to me, is that it unexpectantly brightens someone's day.  The recipient, then, is often compelled to do a random act of kindness for someone else, so the 'feel good' effect grows and grows.  In this way, the old self-serving paradigm dissolves and a cycle of thoughtful compassion for one's fellow man is put into motion. 

Remember the Law of Inertia?  It takes much effort to move an object at rest, but once in motion, it builds momentum and moves forward effortlessly.

So, I thought of an inexpensive way of paying it forward...  I plan to anonymously give seed packets to my neighbors along with a note about the Pay It Forward concept.  An easy way for them to pay it forward, then, would be to give the produce or the flowers they've grown to their neighbors.

It's a simple idea, but it can be such a powerful experience that it could live in the memories and hearts of people for a lifetime... or beyond!


Hi Noa,

I really love the line in the trans course...something like.....we can save the world, one small act of kindness at a time.....and this is very similar....

I think this "pay it forward" is a good thing but it also has some "dangers". I came across this a couple of years ago and it was very hard for me to understand but thankfully, as it was very transformational,  in the end I got it. Tying in with a couple other posts up here at the moment...this played a large part in my getting off the "roller coaster"....

When we do something "nice" or "kind" it is only "pure/real" if we do it for doing it, if we do it with any expectation it becomes something else...a true gift or act of kindness should be unconditional, if it isn't it can easily blow up in your face. 

It is possible that from the perspective of the receiver of the gift.....they may have been minding their own business, when someone pops up and does something "nice" for them.....uninvited.....and then all of a sudden they are expected to "do" something in return....... what if they don't want to do that?, they never asked for any of can be a very unpleasant situation to be in...., it is even possible that the "act" may have been something they would have preffered to do themselves. ....and they only accepted so that they wouldn't appear rude....they may even feel that by accepting an "unwanted" gift they have done the "work"....letting you think you helped them is their good deed/act of unconditionally is a tricky game especially because we are all different and don't want/need/like the same things....just because you would like to receive a certain thing does not mean the next person will, especially if you have a hidden cost attached, no matter how subtle or insignificant you might think that cost is..., I learned this the hard way with a brutal but amazing teacher....Lol...

Maybe another way of descibing what I am saying is something like....have you ever been at a ? function..?......and someone has come over to talk to you, clearly they want to talk,  it becomes obvious that they want to "do" something for you, they offer to get you a drink, you mention your ?..TV blew up, so they offer to give you one they have and don't use, they can bring it over tomorrow, first thing in the morning, it's not a problem....truth is you don't want their deffinitely don't want them coming over to your house....your regretting ever mentioning the TV....they are trying real hard to "connect" with you but your just not interested, for whatever actually want to go talk to someone else, they have you feeling trapped....the kindness being thrown your way can quickly become very annoying and quite rude because it is projected, it is not real,..what is real is that the person wants something from you.....

The fact is, people don't like being dragged into and caught up in someone else's projections.....doing it can easily be seen as manipulative and controlling behaviour, even though it is happening with the "best of intentions".... 

The roller coaster described in the other a projection, largely powered by our expectations....if our true motivations and actions are concealed and hidden from us by our projections we don't really have any control over what we manifest, we end up constantly fighting ourselves......yes intention is powerful and capable of amazing things but it will not work, not to your conscious requests, if your not in the "now" with a connected mind and body.....

I hope it all goes well for you and I will be interested to hear how people respond to your efforts but I do recomend letting go of expectations, set it in motion and just observe it from that point on...then you can't go wrong and you may avoid an unpleasant trip on the coaster........




Francis's picture

unconditionally, to the just and unjust alike.  The best example of unconditional love.

Noa's picture

You make some valid points, Jez.  In fact, I recently found myself in the situation you describe, wherein my "help" was not appreciated and I was actually asked not to help anymore.  It's a puzzling response to me because I think it's "the thought that counts."  Even if the gift is something I don't need, I sincerely thank the givers for their good intentions and either accept the offering or tactfully suggest an alternative.  When we refuse someone's gift, we are denying them the experience of giving.  There are lessons to be learned on both sides of exchanges.  Perhaps, the kind act will cause the recipient to re-evaluate his need to reject it, just as the giver can ponder his motives.

We should not be discouraged to do random acts of kindness.  Most people are pleasantly surprised and delighted by such generosity.  When giving is truly done selflessly, without expectations, it adds a little more love to the world.  If the recipient reacts adversely, perhaps there is a lesson in there for them.  People are not used to getting something for nothing, so it may feel uncomfortable for some to receive.  Learning to accept kindnesses from others can be a positive, healing effect.

We are shifting into a new era when the old paradigm of selfishness and greed is falling away.  People are going to have to learn to cooperate with each other in order to survive.  A new paradigm is emerging based on harmony and brotherhood.  The sooner we start practicing "give and take" the better prepared we will be.

Just because there is fear and hatred in the world, is no reason not to spread love and kindness.  Ultimately, it can only help.

The Gathering Spot is a PEERS empowerment website
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