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International Pay It Forward Day!

Vaaruni (14) shares a story of kindness about helping those around us that'll inspire you to do the same!

“Thank you…” he said, his eyes wide with confusion and pleasant surprise. He hobbled over to the seat and sat down carefully, sighing in fatigue. I made my way to the closing doors and stood, holding the yellow, metal pole. A slow smile grew on my lips. I felt like my heart was singing with joy and a warm feeling spread inside me. It was happiness. The kind that makes you joyful when you see a grateful smile or hear an appreciative thanks. The kind that lights up your face when a loved one opens their Christmas gift from you. The kind that makes you want to make the world a better place. The kind that comes from giving.

When we give another a piece of our time, an opportunity to explain, a bite of our lunch or maybe simply a listening ear, we give them a great gift. We give the gift of compassion. In our world driven by a smooth tally of profits, losses, taxes and stereotypes, we lose the very essence of who we are – humans. We were made to survive and we need each other to do so – evolution is proof of this. But we also need love, care and unity in our diversity to grow and evolve as a society.

At the beginning of this article, I began with a little situation I came across myself a few months ago. I was returning from a school trip to the National Theatre – I had watched As You Like It and the beautiful plot and brilliant execution had left me in a pleasant mood. Exhausted by the day’s activities, me and my friend thanked the heavens for seats on the London tube at 5:00pm – rush hour. We sat in our seats and watched the reflection of the urban jungle we were growing up in. People scrambled for seats, competed for the best spot and managed to scuttle and fit into the smallest spaces possible. I imagined the tube as a watering hole where all species united with one common intention. Among this entire spectacle, an aged man entered the train. He wore a cream woollen jumper and his glasses were circular, a bit like Harry Potter. He glanced around the compartment and not one seat was vacant. When he looked left, people were asleep or reading a newspaper. When he looked right, people were intently reading something or the other on their little (after the recent innovations, large, I guess) phones. No one had noticed the man and those who had, averted their eyes to avoid having to face a moral dilemma of giving up their precious seats. I believe I would’ve done exactly what they did… but I remembered how one random act of kindness could affect people. On an impulsive decision, I stood up and motioned for the gentleman to take my seat. He smiled gratefully and did so but I didn’t miss the many surprised looks I received. Although my calves screamed in protest, the little celebratory jig in my stomach told me I had made the right decision.

Blake Beattie, “a dynamic facilitator, speaker, published author & management consultant”, has recognised the power of giving. He was the founder of International Pay It Forward Day, an event which celebrates kindness and gratitude. He founded the event in 2007 and this year, it falls on Thursday 28th April. This initiative is something which we should applaud as a community because honestly, how will the world go around if everyone just takes and no one gives? So, my friend, if all you remember of this article by the end of today is that giving makes one happy, you would’ve bottled the very essence of my efforts in 4 words. Take away this advice and do your bit to make the world a better place. We can’t all be Super(wo)man, but we sure can be our own superheroes – and right now, our world needs them more than ever. Cheerio and Happy International Pay It Forward Day!

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