Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Monday, September 24, 2012

Paying It Forward, Southern Style

     I was in Delray Beach, Florida this afternoon and I had a little time before meeting a client for dinner, so I decided to go for a walk along the main street here called Atlantic Avenue.  Since I was feeling a bit hungry, I popped into a Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop for a pre-dinner "hold-me-over."  Since the shop was fairly quiet in the late afternoon, I figured I might just try out my "pay it forward" routine in the South.
     The man at the counter was a friendly guy with a British accent.  After scooping me out a cup of cookies and cream ice cream, he was about to ring up the bill when I asked him if he'd do me a favor.  I told him that I wanted him to charge me for an additional cup, and that he should choose a customer this evening to receive a free cup of ice cream courtesy of a stranger.  I then  requested that he ask whoever he chose to do something nice for someone else in exchange.  "Ah, a random act of kindness," he said.  "I can definitely do that."
     It occurs to me that skeptical people might suspect the man could just keep my extra money and never offer the gift to a stranger.  I suppose that could certainly happen, but I have much more faith and trust in people than that.  Though I'll never know for sure, I'm confident he'll happily carry out my request.
     I'm getting better and better at remembering to include that "pay it forward" component.  It definitely makes it more interesting, and more importantly, it makes it more likely to spread kindness further.

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