Question on Quora:
Has anyone helped you and told you to just “pay it forward”? What happened?
When I was about seventeen, I had a job serving tables at a family restaurant. One day, a lady who was a semi-regular came in and just had a drink, coffee or a soda or something. When she paid for the drink, she left me a tip that was something like three times its amount. It wasn’t much in the monetary sense, but it was far beyond what I usually made from a cup of coffee.
I was flabbergasted.She told me with a big smile, “One day you’ll do this for someone else.” (This was long before the phrase “pay it forward” came into vogue.)
What happened? I had my first real lesson in generosity. I came from a poor family with a penny-pinching mother, and up until that moment had never given any thought about giving lavishly to someone else, just because.
What else happened? Obviously, I still remember this woman’s deed, though her face has faded from my memory long since.
What else happened? As an adult, I have flabbergasted a few table servers myself. Given groceries to homeless people sitting on busy street corners.
I’ve fulfilled that beautiful woman’s prophecy. And discovered that indeed, ’tis more blessed to give than to receive.