A few weeks ago, I had to make a copy of my driver’s license to submit with my son’s passport application. Since he is a minor and well, yes, I am the parent, The U.S. Department of State requires a front and back copy of both mine and my husband’s drivers licenses to prove we are who we say we are. And because I do not have access to a copier machine at home I went to the public library to make copies.
The cost of copies? A dime per copy. Not bad I thought as I reached for my wallet for twenty cents. Darn. I only had a nickel and a few pennies in the change compartment. As I dug through old receipts and diaper coupons I found a dollar bill. Aha, I thought, and headed to the front desk to ask for change.
“We do not give change for the copier machine,” the lady blatantly told me.
Rats. I hung my head and started to brainstorm where I could walk to in order to get change. As I walked away, crestfallen, the woman behind the desk must of took pity on me because she then asked me how many copies I intended to make.
“Just two,” I said with my best smile and a glimmer of hope in my voice.
To my delight, she came around the desk with two dimes in her hand. I followed her like a lost puppy dog who just found my way — to the copier machine! Not only did she spot me the 20 cents, she also made the copies for me. I thanked at least five times, and again, gave her my best smile as I walked out the door, copies in hand. As I got in my car I thought, wow, what a nice, yet extremely simple, thing to do for someone. I could not have been happier with my luck that day.
Fast forward to today, almost two weeks after this incident occurred. I was standing in line at the post office filling out a international mailing form, quickly writing down the contents of the package I was trying to mail to my nephew in Germany when a young woman came up to the counter next to me.
When the cashier rang up her total, she was 20 cents short. As I looked up at her I saw the same crestfallen look on her face that must have been on mine two weeks ago in the library, I knew what I had to do. Rats (I am sure she must of been thinking). But before I had time to react, she quietly she told the cashier she would have to go back out to her car.
“Wait,” I spontaneously said. “I think I have twenty cents.”
“Really?” she said with a hopeful smile.
Sure enough, as I once again looked into the change compartment in my wallet, I found a much different result than I had at the library — a shiny quarter!
As the young woman gave me, what I assume was her best smile, I handed the quarter to the cashier. He then rung her up and handed the nickel back to me. She thanked me once again for the twenty cents and was gone.
After I finished up and successfully mailed my package I could not help but think about the phrase, “pay it forward.” Although twenty cents is only pocket change, it made both mine and her day just a little bit easier. This small act of kindness is something to think about when someone bestows kindness onto you.
Today I am happy to say I know I “payed it forward” and it only cost me twenty cents. The take away? If you pay attention you might just find ways to pay it forward in your own life. Simple as that. I promise you, when you do get the opportunity to pay it forward, you will want to do it again and again.
And that, my friends, is my two (or twenty) cents for the day.