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An Open Letter to the Person Paying It Forward



Dear Kind Stranger,

You don’t know me. We’ve never met and we probably never will. You never intended for that to happen and I hope by some miracle you’ll read this so you know how appreciated you are.

Like me, you must be an eternal optimist. You must have thought leaving $5 would make someone’s day. I’m here to tell you, you have no idea. You made my week. I’ve told everyone I know about the awesome thing you did for a complete stranger. And now I’m telling everyone else.

You see, it was a snowy and cold day. I wasn’t feeling so hot so I decided to trudge myself to the store where I grabbed a few cans of soup and a couple of drinks.

When I went to the cashier, she took one look at me, scoffed and said she was done for the day. As she put out her closed sign, she told me to go to the other register and wait for someone else. I was annoyed but not all that surprised - you know what store I’m talking about and you know they aren’t exactly praised for their stellar customer service.

She saw I only had a few things and could have easily checked me out and we could have both been on our way. But, no. Instead, I lugged my basket to the other register mentally fuming about how rude the cashier was.

As I stood there waiting I saw the edge of the card you stuck underneath the credit card machine. When I took a closer look I saw writing on the inside of the card.

I couldn’t imagine what the heck it was. Was it a discarded birthday card? Was it something I shouldn’t be looking at? But I couldn’t help it - I pulled the card out to get a closer look.


The blue card said “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. - Zig Ziglar.”

I’m a sucker for quotes. All quotes really. But especially good quotes, which this one definitely was. And quotes I’ve never heard before, which this one also was. I was intrigued.

I made a mental note to google Zig Ziglar. I’d never heard of him but obviously the man had some good advice. After googling him, I found out he was quite the interesting guy. Did you know his first book “See You At The Top” was rejected 39 times before it was published in 1975? Did you know despite those rejections the book is still in print today? I want to thank you for inspiring me to learn something new.

Back to the card you left. I was now convinced it was a discarded thank you note. Curiosity killed the cat - satisfaction brought him back. Right? I needed to open it. I wanted to know the context. Why would someone leave a thoughtful note behind?

To my surprise this wasn’t an unthoughtfully discarded note. Instead it was a very thoughtful gift. To me. A complete stranger.

Happy Wealth Wednesday!

The inside said Happy Wealth Wednesday! Something else I would go on to google. Sadly, my search didn't give me a definitive answer (by that I mean Wealth Wednesday doesn't have a Wikipedia entry, oh the times we live in!) but the multiple podcasts and articles I read focused around one topic - building wealth.

I'm embarrassed to admit I've never heard of Wealth Wednesday before. Especially since I blog about correcting my financial mishaps and trying to right my financial ship. And here I am missing out on a movement about doing just that. I'm going to correct that - I'm joining the movement.



On the to line you wrote “the lucky person who finds this :)” and on the from line “someone trying to make the world a little happier.”

What sweet words. I want you to know that you have made the world happier. You turned my bad day into a good one. You made a difference.

I want you to know I plan to make a difference too. I’ll be adding my own $5 and sticking the little card somewhere with an added note from me. I hope that we can keep your small act of kindness going until the card ends up with someone who truly needs to have their faith in humanity restored.

Maybe we can make a difference and help a young mom struggling to pay rent or an unemployed kid fresh out of college trying to figure how to make their student loan payment or maybe we can inspire a child to start a savings account. At the very least, lunch can be on us.

The possibilities are endless. I’m going to imagine our $10 will multiply with each person that finds the card until it reaches it’s true recipient. It’ll be like that time everyone in the Starbucks drive-thru paid for the next person for some 300 cars. Or that time McDonald's customers paid it forward for over 150 cars. You could have started something just as brilliant.

You gave me that hope. And for that I thank you. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for making the world a better place. Thank you for forcing me to see beyond my own selfishness.

You made me realize one person can make a difference. All you have to do is take action. From now on I intend to take action and do my part to make this world a little happier.

Above all, I want you to know you’re not alone in your quest to make life a little better. You were the spark that can ignite a flame. I’ll do my best to stoke that flame, I’m hoping the next person will join us on our quest. We got this. We can do it.

You’re a superstar.  Please never give up on your goal. Even if the card makes it no further then the next person. You still changed the world for the better.

Very sincerely yours,
The girl who was lucky enough to find you card
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Broke Dolly
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6 comments:

  1. Wow! That's such a wonderful idea! I've toyed with this in the past, I'd love to do something similar, to bring some more goodness into the world :)

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    1. It is a wonderful idea! I'd love to do something similar too - we can all make a difference somehow :)

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  2. Wow! This is a wonderful post! Whoever started this is amazing! I love the pay it forward examples I've heard of, and it warms my heart to hear that they're still going to this day in 2019. Thank you for this post! It brightened my day!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad this made you smile. Paying it forward is just a wonderful concept, I'm going to try to do so more!

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  3. That was such a heart-warming post! Just a month ago, I was at school and our teacher was teaching us about social change and how there's a taxi driver in India who doesn't receive money. It also does the 'pay it forward' method and lets you choose the amount. It's the little things in life that makes a huge difference. Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. I love hearing stories like that! That’s just amazing. There’s so many good stories like that out there, it really is fantastic to see. Thank you for sharing!

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