Share your experience



Categorized under: connections

Jan L. – after I sold my engagement ring to get money

My friend’s divorce left her with a house she couldn’t sell and a deadbeat father who pays just $6 per week in child support. She was forced to find a job, care for her daughter 100%, refinance, beg for help from her father, and try to make ends meet. She gets free lunch for her daughter, energy assistance, shops in the food pantry once a month, and has state-spnsored health insurance for her and her daughter. She works hard all day, comes home to greet her daughter after school, then stresses about how she’s going to pay the bills.

While there’s so much assistance with food and necessities, it doesn’t cover all of life’s needs. She still has credit cards to pay, a car to pay for, gas to put in the car, car insurance, home taxes, etc.

Here’s the story: Once again, her cable and internet would be turned off for non-payment. She was going to live without tv for 4 days, over the weekend, until she got her paycheck — a mere $600. She was planning to pay $160 to get it turned back on. I decided it would help her a lot to not have to pay that money so I called 3 cable companies until I found the right one. Turns out, she had 2 payments due for a total of nearly $400, and the $160 would always leave her one payment behind. I went ahead and paid the total balance so she could get back on track with them next month.

I’m going through a divorce myself, paying thousands of dollars in lawyer’s bills and begging my ex to pay child support. But, after I sold my engagement ring to get money, I thought to myself, the least I can do is share this with my friend who is also struggling. All the girl has in her life is her daughter and a little tv for enjoyment.

There was no question.

Categorized under: coffee

Tereesa: Federal Way, WA – share the experience with my 4 year old son

I was at the Starbuck’s in Federal Way on March 2nd and the gal in front of me bought my order. I really appreciate the thought and was sad I couldn’t thank her for her generosity. The neat thing was I was able to share the experience with my 4 year old son because I had also order a butter horn pastry for him as a treat because I was picking up the kids late from daycare due to a dentist appointment I had just come from. It was fun to share with him about the generosity that was given and how it made me feel. To the gal who bought my drink, Thank you so much! I will defiantly be paying this forward today, March 5th at the same Starbuck’s. What a great experience.

Categorized under: connections

You may remove whatever amount you’d like from the collection plate

At least once a year our local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship begins the sermon by passing the collection plate saying that it is an annonymous contribution and asking that the congregation give cash, and generously, for a worthy cause.

The sermon theme then is about some form of giving and making the world a friendlier, better or more benevolent place. The congregation is asked if they would like to participate in a pay-it-forward project. If so, the members are instructed to think about what they might personally do to pay it forward. Time is given for the congregation to think it over.

When the sermon and discussion (we always have a congregational response) is completed, the collection plates which now contain the offering collected at the beginning of the service, are passed back through the congregation. The congregation, if they wish to participate, is given this instruction: “you may remove whatever amount you’d like from the collection plate to use in some worthy endeavor. You are then to send an email or note saying what you did with the money.”

Some past projects examples are: buying a holiday dinner for someone; buying library books to donate to the library; buying an ticket for someone to a concert they might not otherwise attend; buying groceries for a needy family; donations of food to the local animal shelter; gift cards for essential items; tickets to the local children’s museum and so on. The ideas are endless and the practice is just plain pass-it-forward feel-good fun.

The Unitarian Universalist pledge is to “make the world a better place” and this is part of that mission.

Categorized under: connections

Judi Oakland, CA – encouraged me to do the same in my business

I have been the recipient of a “pay it forward” experience at a popular bakery in my city – Bake Sale Betty in Oakland, Ca. It is the policy of the bakery to regularly give patrons a free baked good (not a tiny sample). They do it frequent enough so that is it part of their goodwill, but not all the time so that one expects it or takes it for granted. And it is not based on the dollar amount that people are spending – sometimes they give out free products when you are standing in line to get inside, sometimes it is included with your order, sometimes it is when you are sitting outside at one of their tables eating your pastries.
I hope that by sending this to you, it is a “pay it forward” for them. Also their business practice has encouraged me to do the same in my business. We don’t sell an edible item ( we sell used mannequins) but we’ve been so impressed with Bake Sale Betty, we often give our customers a little something extra. It creates wonderful goodwill
We have the perfect body for you to buy or rent,
for your window, trade-show or special event!

Categorized under: connections

Sahara of Heart is Hot – trackable hearts and their stories

My business is solely based on the concept of Pay Love Forward through trackable recycled glass hearts. Each heart is engraved with its own personal number. The idea is to purchase a heart and pay that love forward to someone (give them the heart). The recipient logs in the website and can share a story of the heart and what it means to them.

Then again the heart is passed forward to the next person…and the chain of connection begins. People can literally track and follow their hearts as they travel globally on the site, both visually through maps and the stories shared with each passing.

You can learn more at

Categorized under: connections

Debi in Houston, TX – child with lifelong illness

I am a family photographer in Houston, Texas.
I recently had a client that I was gifting pictures in return for something nice she’d done for me.  She insisted on paying but I would not allow it. 
At the same time another family I’d photographed had a child with a lifelong illness and was in the process of choosing the pictures for her order. 
In classic (but still often rare!) pay it forward style, the first client decided to make someone else’s day and purchased a large gift certificate for the other family – complete strangers!  She surely did make their day – and I hear that family kept it forward by gifting another family toys for Christmas!
Life’s Images Photography
Categorized under: connections

Lisa H.- with credit cards, cash, and random receipts and papers

A few years ago, I was getting out of a taxi and I found a wallet on the back seat, stuffed with credit cards, cash, and random receipts and papers. I took it home with me, and tried looking up the name on the driver’s license, but the person was unlisted. I know how desperate I would feel if I lost my wallet, so I called the local police station and they told me that I would have to drop off the wallet myself and that it would go into their lost-and-found log; they do not reach out to residents regarding found wallets. After looking inside, I noticed a boarding pass from a recent flight on Continental Airlines with a OnePass Frequent Flier number on it. I logged onto the Continental Airlines website and typed in the number; the person’s preferred means for contact showed up with an email address. I emailed the woman and she met me at work with a bouquet of flowers. With a little sleuthing, I tracked her down and made her very happy.



Categorized under: connections

Janice H, Denver – one of the best days of his life

 I surprised my dance instructor with a “Surprise Appreciation Party”, inviting his students to come celebrate how much we love this special man.  His wife brought him to the party under false pretenses to ensure the element of surprise.  We turned my home into a nightclub with a dance floor, DJ, lights, and lots to eat and drink.  He was definitely surprised and told me it was one of the best days of his life.  He felt so loved………which is exactly how he makes his students feel.
I am planning “Surprise Appreciation Party #2”!  Boy, will he be surprised that I was able to pull it off twice.  It is the last thing he is expecting.  Wait till he sees what I have planned!

By the way, my dance instructor is a US Open Champion several times over and has won over 100 titles.  Personally, he has added to my life in more ways than teaching dance.   He’s the best and I love him!

Categorized under: connections

Diana B, New York – with a swipe of my metro card

Love your site and what you are doing!!!…I am a huge fan of “paying it forward” (or R.A.K—random acts of kindness)

Two things I am doing right now:

I give people a free train ride with a swipe of my metro card…..the favorite moments are when a mother is running thru with her kids, the train is in the station AND her card is out of rides….and

         then I tell her I can swipe my card for her….it’s like she won the lottery!! The faces of relief and gratitude are priceless….

After watching a show on Oprah (fall ‘05) on “paying it forward”…….I decided I had to do it….(when Oprah talks I listen!)…….So first I thought of what I wanted to do…..I wanted to help children that are sick or terminally ill.

                   *I chose Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx. *I work at a Hotel in NYC so I decided to donate all my sick pay days from that year. *Then I asked co-workers at the Hotel to join in
                        collecting money, toys,books and pajamas. *Then I asked book companies to donate books for the children. * Then we picked a day (2 days after Christmas) where we would go to the Hospital
                        and hand out the toys–raffle off gifts on each floor–provide a buffet for family members on each floor—and also donate over 6 hours of free massages for all the nurses and hard working staff!!Yeah!
                         This past Dec ‘08 was our 3rd year of our Pay It Forward fundraiser for the children, staff and family members of The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore! And we have many more to come!

Categorized under: connections

Linda – 1000 mitzvahs

Hi Janelle,

A friend of mine just sent me a link for your request of In Line Behind Me Stories. I have recently come public with a project I have been working on for two years called 1000 mitzvahs. It started as a way to honor my father’s memory after he died by doing 1000 acts of kindness (a mitzvah is a Jewish word for that) Anyway, I was told by many people that this was so inspiring and that others would want to do more too if they learned what I was doing.

I think you are discovering that same thing with your In Line Behind Me concept. I love it. I really believe that we are beginning to touch the world with our small actions. The time is so right for the world to be touched by all of these stories of how small actions make a difference.

Anyway, I have to go back through my blog and find a couple of good stories to share on your site and I will do that as soon as I can. In the meantime, I would love to link to you if possible. Feel free to visit my wordpress blog at:

Congrats on your work.


Helping the world one mitzvah at a time.
Visit my blog:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”