Paying It Forward

Paying It Forward

On Monday of this week, I posted a link to this wonderful 'pay it forward' account of my Facebook page. I encouraged followers to do the execute a similar kind deed that week.
Here's what happened for me at the end of that same day —

My 'Payi it Forward' story:

It was Monday evening when Divine guidance pulled me into paying it forward. No-way-no-how did I have a free will option to choose otherwise. Here's what transpired for me, that very evening! —

Divine guidance pulled me into paying it forward today. No-way-no-how did I have a free will option to choose otherwise:

I was approaching the checkout stand at Grocery Outlet with just a few items in my cart, slowly inching my way forward. I looked ahead to the area beyond the register where scanned groceries collect for bagging. I spotted a woman, casually dressed, maybe late 60s, strategically placing her groceries into two handmade fabric carriers, each attached to its own cart.

The gal seemed very focused on sorting her many purchases into such limited space. She was still working at this when the checkout gal scanned my groceries, carefully setting mine apart from the slowly dwindling pile belonging to the woman.

“Lots of groceries!” I said, making eye contact with the woman, still occupied with her sorting as I stepped up to the card machine.

“Yes,” she replied, “I’ve been away.”

“Will you be walking home with all this?” I asked.

“No,” she said, “I’ll be taking the bus.”

“Is it a direct route? You won’t have to transfer?”

“Oh, well, yes…I’ll transfer down on Main Street. It’s not too bad.”

“Golly, that’s such a long way to go with so many groceries! I asked where she lived and learned it wasn’t far away.

“Say,” I said, "I have to run down to Radio Shack — but hang on for 10 minutes, and I’ll be right back to take you.” The woman declined, sure that she could handle it herself, but I insisted.

On the way out to my car, I thought to myself, “Hey, what’s important here?” I decided my errand could wait, so I turned and walked back into the store. “Here I am!” I said to the woman. She looked up, having just completed her packing. “Let’s go!” I said.

The cashier helped us out to my car, the three of us pulling the two overstuffed carts and a few heavy plastic bags containing the overflow. She said she'd wanted to drive the gal herself during her lunch hour but didn't have enough time.

As I drove my passenger to her home, I learned that she’d just returned from a visit to her grandchildren in Montana. Before catching the bus to head out for groceries, she’d taken another bus to go check in on a disabled woman. She’d offered to help with her hair and some odd jobs around her place. I also learned that this woman used to run a home for developmentally disabled children until she was hit with a disease that progresses with symptoms eventually resembling Lou Gehrig's disease.

This woman, an obvious natural-born caretaker, had an amazing attitude. She could no longer drive, had downsized to a living space resembling a mid-sized trailer, and continued to express gratitude for all her blessings.

When we unloaded all the groceries by her front door, she gave me long, loving hug. “I can’t thank you enough,” she said.

I felt embarrassed, having felt so honored for the privilege of assisting this lovely, giving woman.

“Oh well,” I said. “It’s clear that you’ve been paying it forward for quite some time! Once in a while you have to give others the opportunity to do the same.”

I was most certainly the one who received the gift of giving that evening.

(...perhaps the event lacks the 'pre' element or paying it forward, but qualifies more as an unanticipated, Divinely orchestrated good deed...)