At the Walmart store in Sartell Dec. 12, there was a remarkable example of “Pay It Forward” in one of the check-out lines.
It was witnessed by a Newsleader reporter (Dennis Dalman), who happened to be standing in that line when he saw up close the kindness of strangers.
There were two women, who happened to be Black. They had just paid for their grocery items and were putting the bags in their cart. Next in line was an older man and his wife who put their few items on the counter. One of the women said to the check-out lady, “I’m going to pay for those.”
The couple looked stunned, flabbergasted, and the man asked, “But . . . but why?”
“Just because,” the woman said, smiling.
The couple thanked the women profusely as they wished them a Merry Christmas.
After the couple walked away, next in line was an elderly woman just in front of the reporter. She placed her many grocery items on the counter, and once again one of the women, still standing at the end of the check-out line, said, “We’re going to pay for her groceries.”
The elder woman looked up at them with the same flabbergasted look of the couple and said, sputtering, “Wh-wh-WHY? Why in the world would you want to do that? Am I on Candid Camera or something?”
The woman laughed.
“No,” she said. “No camera. We just want to do a good deed for you, that’s all.”
They paid for the groceries, wished the woman Merry Christmas and waving goodbye and smiling, they walked away.
The woman stood there, after waving back, still stunned, as if she were waking from a dream.
“I’ve never had such a nice thing like that happen to me before,” she told the clerk. “And from strangers!”
It was a heartwarming incident, like something that would happen in one of those feel-good Christmas movies.
“Pay It Forward” is a good example of what’s often called “random acts of kindness.” Someone does a good deed for someone else and that someone else is expected to be inspired to do likewise down the line for somebody else.
The concept is as old, if not older, than the Bible, an example of being a Good Samaritan, of passing on kindness, of sharing blessings with fellow human beings, most often total strangers.
Multiple acts of courageous kindness are happening among the people in Ukraine as they endure widespread suffering, pain and death brought about by nearly a year of vicious attacks by Russia.
And here, where we are so much more fortunate, acts of kindness constitute the social “glue” that holds us together.
We wish everyone a Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas. Pay it forward!