I first heard the phrase “pay it forward” when the 2000 movie of that name was released.
I was extremely young and did not fully understand the true meaning of those words until several years later.
Random acts of kindness have become part of the new trendy reporting found in online blogs and news feeds.
It seems most everybody loves hearing a heartfelt story about the person who helped a stranger pay for a meal or stopped to help a family broke down on the side of the road.
After a few of my friends in high school started taking one day a month to pre-pay for strangers’ meals in fast-food drive-throughs, I thought about modeling their good behavior.
However, things get busy, life calls and good intentions slip through the cracks of a hectic lifestyle.
But after experiencing a randomly kind gesture from a family this week, I have reconsidered how often I should stop to also “pay it forward.”
As I tell my friends and co-workers, it’s hard to tell during bad weather if I am a bad driver or if my car is just useless in snow.
Regardless, I had particular trouble driving up a hill outside my apartment on my way to work Tuesday.
The snow was caked onto the ice and packed in such a way that my tires could only hopelessly spin and then roll me back to the bottom.
After about five failed attempts, I was in the middle of texting my boss a picture of my hill with “S.O.S” attached when I heard a voice through my cracked window.
A man, his partner and a child had pulled up beside me in their SUV to offer advice on how to make it up the hill.
When he told me to turn my traction control off, my only answer was, “I don’t think I have that, but I’ll check!”
With a laugh he said, “Do you want me to drive it for you?”
Normally, a 22-year-old living on her own should probably just say “no” and keep flailing away.
But, in my desperation to make it to work, I jumped out of the car and said, “Sure, go for it!”
His partner, Jessica, was even nice enough to drive me to the top of the hill in the couple’s vehicle so I didn’t have to walk.
Needless to say, the man drove my car with much more experience than I did, but instead of being embarrassed, I was touched by his and his partner’s kindness.
Yes, I think people should be hesitant to accept help in risky situations, but when someone is taking the time to offer you a hand up, it is okay to occasionally take it, I think.
If he had not stopped to help me and give me advice, I probably could not have made it out of Flatwoods until a few days later when the snow melted.
The next time I see someone in trouble and am able to help, I will definitely consider “paying it forward” the same way that family did for me.
LANA BELLAMY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2653.