By Mary Morrison
Remember the movie Pay It Forward? It's the story of a boy who comes up with a plan to change the world by helping others.
A similar real-life version of the idea is taking place right in your own backyard.
Recently, dozens of my Facebook friends shared their stories about random acts of kindness…friends like Janis Fowler, whose day was off to a bad start until someone in a chick fil a drive thru paid for her lunch.
“I said really…who? and they said the car in front of you and I said that's great that's fantastic…I left with a big smile on my face,” Janis says.
Janis later paid it forward at another fast food restaurant.
Apparently, these random acts of kindness are really catching on.
“It happens very frequently at Chick-fil-A,” says Courtney Hirneisen. “Because it happens so frequently, our team members are very eager to just pull up their order and say that's wonderful,” she said.
“Good Morning, It's 7:10 with John and Cleve…We currently have partly cloudy skies today with highs in the 60's..”
A local Christian radio station encourages expressions of kindness. It's called the “Drive-Thru Difference”.
Family Friendly 88.3 WAFJ even puts a form on their website for listeners to use. The note explains that the stranger in the car in front of them paid for their order, just to be nice and people seem to love it.
“The response has been incredible. We've had phone calls from people crying because they said it was something they needed just at the right time,” says WAFJ morning host John Bryant.
Just listen to the emotion in this caller's voice after someone pays for her meal, “I'd been sick all night an all morning. I just came by to put some food on my stomach and take my antibiotics…I'm sorry I'm crying, but this is just so wonderful…I want to thank her, thank you so much, and I'm gonna do the same thing.” It sounds like she's feeling better already.
What about the givers? What's in it for them?
Dr. Bo Sherwood at University Hospital's Prompt Care says giving can relieve stress and it's good for your health. “Physiologically, you can have things happen that we can objectively measure. I mean, you can have a lowering of the pulse, a lowering of the blood pressure. Since you do feel better, you'll feel more like doing other things,” he said. “Get more energetic…as you get more energetic, you feel like doing more things and the more you do, the more you feel like doing.”
There's even a Random Acts of Kindness foundation with tips on how to do a good deed.
No money? No problem. It turns out you've already got something to share.
“You always own kindness and since you own it, you have the ability to give it away,” Dr. Sherwood says.
So, every day you can, say something, do something to help someone out. It comes from the heart.