Paying it Forward

A couple weeks ago, I decided to pop into one of my favorite local doughnut shops to get a much-needed break from my freelance life, which can get pretty hectic at times.

National Doughnut Day 2015 is Friday, June 5. You're welcome. 

National Doughnut Day 2015 is Friday, June 5. You're welcome. 

As I sat, brainstorming questions for a few interviews I had that week, a woman came in and ordered a dozen doughnuts. Like a lot of newbies (confession: I was one), she wasn’t aware that this local treasure accepts cash only. The customer in back of the woman overheard the conversation and offered to pay for her entire order. Pretty needless to say, she was floored.

“Really? Do you want me to pay you back in some way?” the woman asked.

Without hesitation, the Good Samaritan replied, “No, it’s no problem! There are some good people out there.”

Those seven words, “There are some good people out there” struck a nerve and caused me to start thinking about all the times I experienced a random act of kindness and how I can be one of the “good people out there.”

Hmmm…let’s see, there was that time when my family and I stopped at McDonald’s (don’t judge!) and when we went to pay for our order, the employee informed us that the car ahead of us had already paid for our meal. We were stunned. If that small act of kindness made us feel great, can you imagine how great it must’ve felt for the folks in the car ahead of us to pay it forward?

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always been the person who will gladly fork out cash around the holidays when the cashier asks, “Would you like to donate to so and so’s charity?” But there’s something special about donating your time and seeing the faces of the people whose lives you’re changing.

 I remember when I was a sophomore in high school. It was the week before Thanksgiving and my culinary arts class prepared a full-course dinner for the students in the special education program. Although we never saw their faces, it was still an amazing feeling because it was more personal than just writing another check. If you prefer to donate money, that’s cool and I’m not knocking that. But, for me personally, knowing I made someone’s life a little bit better by giving my time was one of the best feelings in the world. I felt uplifted, inspired, motivated, and more important even.

Giving to another human being without expecting anything in return is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do. Moving forward in 2015, I want to experience that as often as I possibly can because it’s true: When you do good, you definitely feel good.

 About the Author: Princess Gabbara is a Michigan-based journalist and freelance writer (Ebony, Essence, etc.). She adores life and tries to live it every day to the absolute fullest. You can read more of her work on her blog