A while ago a number of posts appeared on Facebook entitled ‘Creative Pay it Forward’. The idea was that you post a status update about this and the first five people to comment on it get a surprise at any time throughout the year. The catch being that they had to post the same status on their Facebook page.
The post read as follows:
2013 Creative Pay-It-Forward: The first five people to comment on this status will receive from me, sometime in the next calendar year, a gift – perhaps a book, or baked goods, or a candle, music – a surprise! There will likely be no warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me. The catch? Those five people must make the same offer in their FB status.
I only had one comment on mine but that was ok, it meant that I spent an evening chatting to a woman from Texas. We spoke about many things that night, how she would like to visit England, her writing, her family. It was a nice chat especially when she told me about her current WIP (work in progress) and by the time she’d finished I wanted her to have completed her story so I could read it. (She has a website too if you want to check out her writing!)
But the ‘Creative Pay it Forward’ post made me think. What else can we do? How can we be kind?
For many months I’ve noticed a guy selling ‘The Big Issue’ outside Greggs. I wonder if its a form of penitence for him to see all the people inside eating, to smell the delicious food. For those not familiar with ‘The Big Issue’ it is generally sold by people who are homeless. For whatever reason they have ended up on the streets. To be able to sell the magazine and earn some money you have to be in the process of turning your life around.
We’ve all got our demons, things we do we aren’t proud off, so we shouldn’t sit in judgement on others. I say shouldn’t but we all do. I’m as guilty of it as everyone. But my post here isn’t about becoming better people, finding religion or whatever, just about one thing. doing something kind.
Like I said I’d seen him there before but today (Thursday 17th January) was freezing. I was cold as I was walking around so he must have been standing there. I should say he’s not the kind of guy who hassles you as you are busy shopping. He merely holds the magazine and is there, a presence. Today I wanted to do something different than just watch him there, I stopped and asked him if he were ok. He replied that he was. It was then I offered getting him a hot drink from Greggs, or something to eat. He was very polite and soft spoken as he declined my offer, with a wry grin he explained that he’d just got a cup of tea for himself.
I came away feeling good. It was such a little thing I did, not even thinking about it. But what if it grew? What if we turned 2013 into the year of doing something kind? What if we turned away from shopping online with the big retailers and instead returned to the high street; which is struggling so much in this financial crisis, and did our shopping there? You know the smaller stores that we are in danger of losing if the recession carries on much longer just as we have lost Woolworths, Thorntons, Comet, and HMV. Spending time greeting those shop assistants who try so hard to help us and not ignoring them.
I know it is radical. But what if… we open doors for people, say hello to them, and bring back ‘Thank-you’s’ and ‘Excuse me’s’? And the equally important ‘I’m sorry’ that is so rare. What if we give up our seats to people who need them more? What if we bring back … manners? Could this work?
So I challenge you all, the few who will read this blog, to do it, do something kind. Pass it forward. Keep it going.