Pay it forward

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Do you remember the movie, Pay It Forward, starring Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment, and Helen Hunt? It’s the story about a young boy, Trevor, who conjures the idea of paying a favor not back, but forward–repaying good deeds with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor’s efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.

I hated the movie. It’s sappy and self-indulgent but I love the idea. Perhaps I dislike this movie because I despise Helen Hunt. Don’t ask me why.

Today Chad and I brought Hoffman to the Haven Animal Shelter for his last round of vaccinations. We had lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant called La Esquina. We ate outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. A couple seated nearby asked about our dog and we told them about the shelter. They had already been there and were debating whether or not to adopt a pit bull/Shepard mix named King. They were very pleasant and praised our dog’s sweet demeanor, which won them high marks from Chad. Soon after they payed their bill and wished us a good day. Then the waitress came by and said that the couple payed for our meal. Since they were already gone, we couldn’t thank them. We were completely taken aback. Neither of us has ever been treated so kindly by complete strangers. It left us feeling surprised and shocked. We couldn’t believe that two random people could be so generous.

As we walked home, I found myself smiling brightly and even noticed a spring in Chad’s step. This couples’ act to pay it forward reminded us both that people can be genuinely kind, even in New York. So for the rest of the day, I made sure to hold open doors and smiled as strangers pet our dog.

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It has been studied that positive acts reduce stress and release endogenous opioids which improve the immune and cardiovascular system. Long term studies show that reducing stress promotes longevity. Similar finding have been found with owning a dog or volunteering at a hospital.

I only hope that I can remind myself of this wonderful August day long after it passes. It was a glimpse into a world where everything could be right and that an act of kindness could influence two strangers in such a positive way. But regardless whether Chad or I can remember this day at least we have Hoffman to help us live longer, healthier lives.

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3 Comments

  1. mich lyon
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    how sweet! that hoffman brings out the best in people 🙂

  2. FortWorthGuy
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Is there something amiss with your blog….did it come down with a bug left over from the Ascension Party?

  3. Posted August 31, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    hi, Brandon From maimi 24, very nice story, well told. its funny i think most of my days seem to be very shitty, in one way or anther. but i still think(maybe in my mind) that i still try to be the best person i can be, and it makes me feel better.


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