How to Pay It Forward
It’s simple, it’s powerful and it will change your life as well as the life of others.
Step 1: Open your eyes and your heart to what is happening around you. Simply make a conscious effort to look around you as you go about your day. Sometimes we get so focused on our own life and our own issues and our own problems that we lose track of what is going on around us.
Step 2: Once you start to notice people around you the opportunities to PAY IT FORWARD will be all over the place, many, many times throughout your day.
Step 3: As you see opportunities simply step up and act. Next time you open the door to walk into a building, take a quick look behind you before letting the door close to see if anyone is behind you, if so take 2 seconds and hold it open for them. Next time you are in stop and go traffic and someone wants to get in front of you, let them. Next time you see someone who looks like they are having a rough day, share a simple sincere compliment…the list goes on and on.
Below are some examples of very simple random acts of kindness you can perform for someone today!
( Have more ideas? Please share them with us and we will share them on the site as well as the facebook page).
Pay It Forward No Cost Examples
- Return someone’s grocery cart while at the grocery store
- Open a door for someone
- Give someone a sincere compliment
- Write a nice hand written note to someone letting them know what you like/love/respect about them
- Stand at a door as people exit a mall or grocery store with an umbrella when it is raining and walk them to their car
- Make a “Free Hugs” sign and offer free hugs to anyone who wants one
- Smile at someone
- Call a friend/loved one and tell them how much they mean to you and why
- Take a neighbors trash out for them
- Let someone get in line ahead of you.
- Give up that parking space, even though you were the first one there.
- Leave an encouraging note for someone who has helped you
- Stop to help someone with a flat tire or car troubles on the side of the road
- Walk through a parking lot after a snowstorm and brush snow off of vehicle car windows
- If you have a 4 wheel drive truck/suburban/jeep drive around during a snow storm and help vehicles who are stuck
Pay It Forward examples under $5
- Pay for the meal / drink / coffee for the person behind you in line in the drive thru.
- Pay for the toll for the car behind you at the booth.
- Buy a dessert for a stranger at a restaurant
- Mow a neighbors yard for them
- Drop off treats at a nursing home
- Put some change in someones parking meter
- Leave a gift for your mail carrier or trash man
- Leave an extra tip for your waiter / waitress
- Pay for someone’s coffee in line behind you or in the drive through behind you
Pay It Forward examples $5-$25 or more
- Pay for a meal for someone while at a restaurant.
- Help pay for the gasoline for someone at the gas station.
- Help someone with their groceries
- Make a meal / dessert for someone, deliver it
- Mow a neighbors yard for them
- Send someone flowers
- Leave a gift for your mail carrier.
- Leave an extra tip for your waiter / waitress.
- Buy an inspirational book and send it to a friend.
- Send a gift for your child’s teacher.
Below are some more examples provided by a group of 5th graders at Wentworth School in Scarborough, Maine during a PAY IT FORWARD x 1 MILLION presentation.
49 ways YOU can PAY IT FORWARD specifically for kids
- Sit with someone who is sitting alone
- Invite people over who don’t usually have the opportunity to play at someone’s house
- Hold the door for a long line of people
- For your next birthday party, ask your guests to bring a donation for a charity rather than a birthday gift for you
- Donate clothes that don’t fit you any more
- Donate toys to an orphanage
- Donate animal toys to an animal shelter
- Set up a lemonade stand and give the money to charity
- Give someone something you really like that you know they need or will enjoy
- Read to someone who can’t read
- Send a card to a nursing home
- Help your parents by doing extra chores
- Babysit a younger brother or sister without expecting anything in return
- Help in the garden
- Pick up trash outside at places like the woods, beaches, or even along the side of the road
- Mow someone’s lawn for free
- Water someone’s plants, garden, or flowers
- Shovel snow for people
- Clean and make a path to a fire hydrant after a snow storm
- Do yard work for another person- pick up sticks and branches or rake leaves
- Wash somebody’s car
- Clean snow off someone else’s car after a storm
- Walk someone’s dog
- Help someone load their groceries into their car or carry them into their house
- Make sweets and give them to someone
- Donate a few dollars to someone to buy food if they can’t afford it
- Give canned food to a food pantry
- Give people gift cards to food or clothes stores
- Make a “Birthday Box” for someone that would not otherwise get anything for their birthday.
- Send flowers to someone you don’t know in a nursing home.
- Give someone working outdoors a warm drink to keep them warm.
- Encourage adults to donate blood
- Encourage adults to register to donate organs
- Visit patients in a hospital
- Send a card to a soldier
- Give a helping hand when you see someone carrying a lot of stuff
- Train your pet to be a volunteer and visit hospitals and nursing homes
- Give up your seat for someone who needs it more
- Volunteer at a senior center
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Help in a soup kitchen
- Pay for someone’s food or drink
- Take time to teach someone a skill that you know
- Help an adult jump start someone’s car
- Put extra money in a vending machine
- Leave encouraging notes in a library book or somewhere unexpected
- Put a quarter in a parking meter that’s about to expire
- Let the person directly behind you in line you go before you
- Check on your neighbors during very hot weather, very cold weather, or after a storm.
When someone wants to repay you for something, ask them to instead PAY IT FORWARD!