Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Pay-It-Forward Thank You

I was in a London, England train station when a perfect stranger had approached me with the dreaded words, "excuse me".
Looking her up and down to size up this stranger took a second or two, but after seeing a luggage bag, what looked to be her partner, and seeing that she was dressed well made me a little less apprehensive.

"Can I help you?" I asked

She said, "Are you heading into London today?"

"Yes, I just arrived" I said back

"Well, here are tickets for the subway (underground, tube, T-Bana, whatever you call it from where you live) And then she handed me her 2 tickets and walked away.

Just like that.

It took me a couple seconds to clue in to what just happened; but when it sunk in, I looked up to her as she was walking away with her partner and shouted out, "Thank you"

But I didn't feel like it was a proper thank you for her Random Act of Kindness (RAK) I mean, I had this happen to me before once in a parking lot where someone would give you their parking ticket if they had time left on it, but this was something that was worth way more in value.

And yet she asked nothing for it...

As her train was leaving the station, I made it a point to look up at them, and holding the subway passes up in the air, I motioned and mouthed the words, "Thank You" again. But I still felt that I could not thank them properly.

The reason I say this, is because I have been that person to approach someone else and give this away. In a small way, you almost feel like you are giving away a winning lottery ticket. I usually look before I choose who I think would need it, or be the most deserving, and then when I give it to them I look to see the reaction they give me. Usually, you catch the person totally off guard and I guess I was no exception, but generally, I walk away feeling good about my RAK.

Even though the person can never give you the full and proper thank you, their reaction is usually reward enough. But yesterday, I was on the receiving end for this, and I just hope that I passed with enough humility to have made that person understand how truly grateful I really was.

So if you are paying-it-forward with a RAK in a small or a big way, and not expecting it to come back to you, I can assure you that when it does come back (and it will...) it will leave you with a smile on your face.

This person just happened to get me very early in the morning, so it really started my day and trip off on a good foot. Most likely, I will never see that person ever again, but I can thank them here on this forum. And in doing so, maybe you will create an opportunity to do the same thing today or in the near future....

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