You’ve no doubt heard about “Pay It Forward”, right? Released back in 2000, “Pay It Forward” is a film that tells the story of a young boy trying to make this world a better place by performing three random acts of kindness, and asking each recipient to essentially “pay it forward” by performing three additional acts of kindness, and so on so forth. For the month of September, Camden has adopted the random acts of kindness idea and tasked each of its employees to venture out into the world and “be good people”. I loved the idea! Thus began the rekindled “Pay It Forward” movement (at least for Camden anyhow)!
Personally speaking, there’s no better feeling in the world than knowing you’ve impacted someone in their life in a positive manner. Throughout the month of September, I made a conscious decision to help anyone in need. Did someone need an extra dollar to pay for their lunch? BAM! Dollar gifted. Did a resident need help fitting a monstrously large package into their comically small car? POW! Package secured. Did someone need help putting away a huge stack of papers? BOOM! Papers filed. I was on a roll and had no intention of slowing down. If there was an opportunity to influence someone’s life for the better, I was there. Kindness given felt greater than kindness received.
One act of kindness in particular, however, turned my whole world upside down. As I was walking by the front door of my leasing office, I noticed an older man en route to come in. I stopped and opened the door for him, with a smile and a “Hey, how’s it going?” He turned to me, smiled and said “That has been the best thing that has happened to me all day, thank you”. The words rang in my ears and truly reached me deep down and gave me the most heartwarming feeling I’d felt in a long time. The heartwarming feeling didn’t last long. Once I understood what he said, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought to myself, “What kind of world do we live in, where such a small good deed is the highlight of someone’s life?” I was…genuinely upset. Such a bittersweet roller coaster of emotions coursed through my being and I couldn’t shake them off until I went to bed that night.
The morning after, I came to a conclusion: Paying it forward shouldn’t be a fad or company-mandated event. Paying it forward should be a way of life, and truly, not called paying it forward. Paying implies you owe someone something, sometimes not being particularly happy that you have to “pay”. Though the general idea and reasoning is sound and beneficial, I think perhaps it is merely a preliminary stage that will develop into something much bigger and impactful. Instead of paying, why not just be? Stop paying and repaying; start being a good person and doing what’s right. That, my friends, is my new motto.