PAY It Forward
It's the middle of the night and I find writing this blog nothing short of imperative. As I've been sitting on the floor in my disheveled room, I began to recall such an important moment in my life. Some might pass it off as "dumb" or "unimportant", but for me, it has held a great magnitude of power over my mind and how I live my life. Something so simple, yet so precious has lingered inside my brain for years now.
It was a very cold winter evening and a friend of mine had attempted suicide by hanging herself. Luckily her mother walked in and found her beautiful daughter just in the nick of time to save her life. Due to the injuries she obtained, she was rushed to Westchester Medical Center where she stayed, unconscious for quite a while. FINALLY she awoke. Everyone was notified and a friend of mine and I decided to make the trip to visit her. We picked up some picturesque flowers and were on our way. We reached the hospital and dashed madly across the freezing parking lot through the hospitals automatic doors. After signing in, up and away in the elevator we went. We reached her room and briefly spoke with her family in the hallway, then proceeded to her bedside. Only minutes were allowed with her, this beautiful, talented young girl, hardly able to speak and breathe, and probably so perplexed as to why she is alive and why we are sitting on her hospital bed holding a bouquet of fresh flowers. Pretty soon after our arrival, we were ushered to leave by the nurses. We hopped back in the elevator and headed out to the car. Little did we know, being unprepared high-schoolers at the time and quite emotional considering the circumstances, that we had to pay for parking. We had no money aside from a spare dollar or two most likely left over from our lunch money that day. We had no idea what to do, so I attempted to run inside and try to pay with whatever money we had, but of course, I was way off. A very sweet hearted, generous person cleared her throat and said "Excuse me" in order to grab my attention. She handed me a $20 bill. I pleaded with her that I couldn't take her money, or to give me her name and address and I will certainly pay her back. She persistently refused. I thanked her a million times over for her generosity and let her know how much it was appreciated. She turned to me and replied with one sentence, that will forever enforce my belief that there is good in all people, "Don't worry about it. Just help someone else out the next time you see they need it".
It is the beautiful idea of "Pay it Forward". What she did might be considered a minor act of kindness, but it is something I will never forget because I know that not many people would help someone out, even with something that minor. There was a lobby full of people, and no one cared. It wasn't hard to help me out, and it isn't hard to help so many other people out. I'm not a hippie that will sit here and preach peace to you, but I will be a human being preaching kindness. Put yourself in other people's shoes. Whether you would ever want to admit it or not, if you were in some other people's situations in this world, you'd want the help too. It is so much easier, and so much more satisfying to be nice to someone. Everyone deserves a chance, or a second chance, until it's right. There's no need to judge someone or automatically assume one is a certain way due to stereotypes. For instance, I can't begin to tell you how many times I've seen people walk past bums in the city. Yes, I'm fully aware of the stereotype that bums ask for money and buy booze with it, and that there is some truth to that, but there are some people that just might have had a stroke of bad luck. A couple of friends and I were leisurely hanging out in NYC one day and saw this helpless homeless woman on the street forcing her pelvic area against a heater on the side of a building to relieve her pain. She was blatantly in pain and stopped us, and with eyes filled with embarrassment and helplessness, she asked if we had any spare money so she could run into the store next to us for some feminine products because she had her period. My mind tranced to when I have my period, and I think about how I have the luxury of soaking in a hot bath, or a heating pad to alleviate my monthly pain. I don't have to find a heater on the side of a building in NYC. Imagining how she must feel, we handed her some money. Do you know what she did with that money?
...She went into the store and bought just what she said she needed.
You have to have faith in people. Sometimes you will be wronged, but there's never a good enough reason to stop believing.
Pay it Forward everyday. Never stop. Treat others how you want to be treated. Never take anything for granted. It's the little things that count. One day you might be helped out in a big way when you really need it.