I am living proof that ‘paying it forward’ can work. I was sitting in a cafe with my son one day having lunch. He has cerebral palsy and is unable to feed himself, so I was feeding him and we were having a lovely time, oblivious to the world around us. When I went up to pay, the owner told me a complete stranger had already paid for our lunch, and had asked the waiter to pass on the message that I was an amazing mum. I was brought to tears by this kind gesture.
Fast forward one month and my son was in hospital having an operation. In the recovery room, I overheard a lady asking the nurse about how to catch public transport to her hotel. She was from a rural area and was with her tiny daughter, who had just endured an operation. I went up to her and asked if I could please pay for a taxi for them. I explained that I was paying it forward and that it would be my pleasure to assist her. We hugged and had a bit of a cry. It was a moment of connection with a complete stranger. Better than any shopping spree!
Since writing that column, I’ve been overwhelmed with lovely responses like yours from people telling stories of how they’ve paid it forward — and they’ve all told me the same thing: the high they got from being kind far outweighs the small cost of helping someone else.
I’ve chosen yours because it shows how kindness has a knock-on effect. Maybe that lady you helped will pay it forward to someone else? Thanks for sharing, and whoever paid for your lunch was right — you do sound like an amazing mum!