Pay it Forward

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pay it Forward concept. It basically involves giving something and expecting nothing in return, and instead asking that the recipient do the same, in kind, for someone else. So the person doesn’t “pay back” anything to you, but he/she “pays forward” to someone else.

I have to tell you, the first time I was the recipient of a Pay it Forward type gift confused me beyond comprehension and left me somewhat frightened. Now that I think of it, it may not have been the result of the Pay it Forward movement. It occurred several years ago when the whole Random Act of Kindness thing was gaining notoriety.  At any rate, the concepts of these two are about the same, and whatever it was, it confused the ever-loving snot out of me. So I’m going to tell you about it.

Several years ago, I traveled each week to Topeka, Kansas for my job. I actually did this for about three years. And now that I think about it, this may explain my tendency to be a recluse and never leave the homestead. At any rate, because I had to spend all week there, I would take the latest possible flight on Sunday night to Kansas City, Missouri and then drive the 60 miles or so to Topeka. After flight delays and eventual arrival at the airport in Missouri, I would go to the car rental place and pick up my rental car. By the time it was all said and done, I would often end up driving to Topeka from the airport in Missouri late at night. There was usually very little traffic and it was always very dark.

On one particularly dark, misty, drizzly night, I pulled into one of the toll booths along the journey with my $.85 in hand. As I went to pay the toll booth attendant she said “No charge. The car in front of you paid for it.” I gave her a blank stare for a few seconds and then said “Who was it?” She said “I have no idea. They just said the next car is paid for.”

I am not usually a suspicious person, but it was late at night, I was very tired, and I was a female traveling alone. Plus the whole thing was just weird.

“Well, what did they look like?” I asked her. I figured I may know the person. Perhaps it was someone I worked with that just so happened to know I was behind them. “I honestly didn’t pay any attention.” she responded. “Well, how did they know I was behind them? I haven’t even seen tail lights ahead of me for a long time.” At this point, the toll booth lady was getting just a little annoyed. “Look, all I know is the person a head of you paid me an extra $.85 and told me that the next car to come through the toll booth is paid for. That would be you. Your toll is paid.”

We stared at each other a few seconds. “Was it a male or a female?” She sighed. “It was a male.”

“Was there anyone else in the car with him?”


“Did he say my name? Did he say he was paying for Penny?” She actually rolled her eyes at me.

“Well, how do you know he was paying for ME? Maybe he thought a friend was behind him. Maybe he was paying for someone else.” I honestly thought she was going to flog me at that point. Instead she said, with a definite tone of finality, “Your toll is paid. Would you like a receipt?”

“But I didn’t pay.” She whipped out a receipt, shoved it in my hand, and said “Have a nice night.”

I pondered on that incident for weeks. I just could not figure it out. I finally decided someone really was just trying to be nice. Whoever it was could not have known the tailspin it would put me in. Certainly that was not the intent. So, if you’ve ever been on the road to Topeka late on a dark, misty, drizzly night and decided to be kind and pay for the car behind you, thank you. I still think of you often. And will you please send me an email and identify yourself? Please? I’m still rather confused.

I told you all of that to tell you this: While visiting Mainelyewes blog recently, I took Kelly up on an offer to participate in a bloggers Pay it Forward. Perhaps, in the deep recesses of my heart, I feel the need to rectify my suspicious, reluctant acceptance of a similar gift many years ago. I’m not sure. But I do know that when I read about this offer, I immediately thought “What a wonderful idea!”. In these difficult and somewhat scary times, I think Paying it Forward is a great way to possibly brighten someone’s day. So I agreed to participate. And yesterday, I received this wonderful Pay it Forward gift:


Goats milk soap, lotion, and body butter hand made from Mainely Ewes Farm. And they are absolutely wonderful!

So here’s the deal – the first five people to comment on this blog post and say you would like to participate in this Pay it Forward will receive a gift in the mail from me. I will send each of you handmade soap, lotion, and a home made food item. If you’d like to participate, please do not email me. You must post a comment to this blog and tell me you’re in. I will mail your gift within one week of your comment. Feel free to comment regardless – but if you do want to participate, please be sure to state that in your comment.

There is a small catch. You must have a blog and you must agree to Pay it Forward by offering a gift to five people on your blog, who will agree to do the same on their blogs. This is, after all, what paying it forward is all about.

The gift you offer doesn’t have to be something you make. You can offer anything you like. It certainly doesn’t need to be expensive. I’ve read other blogs that offered chocolate candy, a book, fruit, items unique to the blogger’s region, etc. The purpose is not to see who can come up with the most wonderful gift, but rather to brighten someone’s day with a small act of kindness. Sort of like paying the toll for the car behind you. Only not as creepy.

So, my blogging friends, are you in? Would you like to participate in a spirit lifting act that will make you all warm and fuzzy inside? Just be one of the first five bloggers to comment on this blog post and let me know you’re in. I’ll send you my offering and you can Pay it Forward. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Bee Free,


14 Responses to “Pay it Forward”

  1. Michelle says:

    I would love to participate since no one even knows who I am or about my blog, lol. It’s not much of a blog anyway 😉 DO I need to leave my address? Even if I am not one of the first five to comment, I wold like to participate by sending folks something, so I think I will blog about it and link to your blog as an explanation 😉

  2. I am IN! This sounds like so much FUN! My head is buzzing with ideas!

  3. Julie says:

    Well, I don’t have a blog (no time, & wouldn’t know what to say) but I do I guess in a sense “pay it forward” I give my fresh eggs away to people I know are having a hard time making ends meet, I’ve been doing this for years. It seems that the more I give away the more I end up having. Life is good.
    Keep up your wonderful blog Penny, you are truly an inspiration;-)
    Love ya!

  4. basicliving says:

    Michelle and Jennifer – thank you for participating! You’re the first two. This is really fun! I will email you shortly for your addresses and I need to ask some questions about your preferences on the gifts I send.

    Julie! I agree with you. I’ve always preferred to be charitable in my own way, rather than through organizations. And I think personally gifting someone means much more to them than generic handouts. I bet your eggs are appreciated and the fact that you give them probably means to world to those people. And girlfriend, you’re not fooling me. You ALWAYS have something to say 😉

  5. Lilla says:

    I’m in, Penny…I’m in!!! Ilove the whole concept and would love to participate. And, as you know, I have a blog.

    I can send bags of snow as my pay it forward. Do you think that would be appreciated by those in the southern states? Just kidding. I’ll do better than that.


  6. basicliving says:

    Woo hoo, Lilla! I’ll send you an email in a few minutes, but wanted to thank you for joining in. It really is a hoot! Bags of snow? I know you have plenty of it right about now. Maybe you’ll get to play hookie again tomorrow! but I betcha there actually are some who would appreciate that snow! Me? I’d prefer a bag of sunshine and 85 degree weather – but it’s YOUR pay it forward 😉

  7. Nicole says:

    Wowww I’ve never heard of this but I LOVE the idea. Regardless of whether you send me something or not I’ll do it for sure!

  8. basicliving says:

    Hi Nicole – you’re number 4! I’ll email you shortly to get your mailing address. This is really fun!!!!

  9. Tracy says:

    This is a fantastic idea. I really like the pay it forward idea. I’m not sure what I would pass on…I’ll have to give it some thought. I’m in, if there’s still room.

  10. basicliving says:

    Hi Tracy – you’re in! You are number 5. And based on your blog, I’m thinking you’ll come up with something wonderful as your pay it forward. You are quite talented!

    So that’s it – we have five signed up. If any of you missed the opportunity to sign up for Pay it Forward on my blog, check out the blogs of the five that signed up for this one (click on their names in their comments). I’m sure they’ll be posting about their pay it forward in the next couple of weeks!

    Thanks so much to everyone – this is really fun!

  11. Chainsaw says:

    I usually enter all the legit sounding give-a-ways online that don’t end up filling my inbox with reams of spam.

    A while back I entered VIZIO’s Million Dollar Event.
    Vizio is giving away one million dollars worth of 55 inch HDTV’s.

    Once a week I receive an e-mail with the winners’ posted from the various states with push pins that when you hover your mouse over, displays the winner’s name and location.

    This week, the e-mail from Vizio came and I eyeballed the winner’s and one was actually from Delaware, so I hovered over it to check the name.
    It was a man I didn’t know from Bear, Delaware.

    I Googled his name, and up came his phone number, and I called it on a whim just to see if he had indeed entered the same Vizio sweepstakes, and he had.

    I explained to him that I was an average Joe, just as he was, and that I was calling to see if he had truly won the 55 inch HDTV that I saw displayed in the e-mail link.

    He had no idea that he had won, and was in front of his computer, and I guided him to the correct URL to view the winner’s list map and his name.

    I asked him if there was another (his name) in Bear, Delaware and he said no, that he was the only one with that name in Bear, DE.

    He found the Vizio Corporate Headquarters phone number and I told him to call it and ask where his new TV was, and if there was no TV, why were they using his name?

    He called me back very excited and that it was indeed a legit post of his name and that the Corporate office was about to e-mail him to notify him of his winning.

    I’ve never met, or saw this person in my life, and probably never will, but I was just as excited for his luck as he was.

    I hope this qualifies as Paying it Forward, or at least gives me some of that, “My Name is Earl,” karma.

  12. basicliving says:

    Wow, Chainsaw. I feel like I should send you a prize for being the first person to ever write a blog on my blog. I’m not sure what you did qualifies as a “pay if forward” kinda thing, but certainly your karma should be in good shape. Did the guy at least offer to buy you a drink? Or let you watch the Super Bowl on his big screen TV next year?

  13. Chainsaw says:

    A blog in a blog?
    Hmmm, that sounds like my warped definition of an enigma.

    No, but he did say that he’d be sending me a picture of it as proof that he recieved the TV, even after I offered to buy it off of him for $1000 cash, and whined about our 52″ rear projection TV eating lamps and spends more time dark than light.

    The new Vizio TV’s are hot stuff though.
    They’re the next generation of LCD HD’s that aren’t priced out of reach.

    I wish that I had thought LCD only when I picked out our Panasonic, but the store must have had all the TV’s on a boosted feed of HD.

    Lesson learned the hard way.
    Time to go re-enter the give-a-way!

  14. basicliving says:

    Yep – time to re-enter. You’ve got the whole karma thing working for you this time. And when you win – remember the Pay it Forward concept. Our big screen is getting mighty old……….

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