Eleven years ago, during a trip to the grocery story, I went to pay for my groceries and realized I didn't have enough money to pay for everything. We were pretty tight on cash with my wife staying at home with my 3 month old daughter and me being a third year teacher (1st in Fremont). I remember telling the cashier that I would just put the milk and a few other items back. She asked, "Why don't you just use your credit card?" The answer was pretty simple, I couldn't afford to get in any more debt. College debts were still looming and having just bought a used vehicle, the last thing we could do was go further into debt. That's when the guy behind me offered to pay for the additional items that we needed. I told him that I couldn't accept and that I really appreciated the offer. He insisted and I then accepted the offer. I asked the man, "How will I pay you back?" He told me that the only thing I had to do was to pay it forward. This may have been a small act for this man but for me, it was an act of kindness I'll never forget.
I have now "paid it forward" several times. All because one guy, who I don't know and couldn't pick out of a lineup today, did something nice for me eleven years ago. I know that this is nothing new, but it can be powerful.
What can we do to show caring? This week's challenge to Johnson Crossing's staff is to do a random act of kindness. If they catch you in this act, ask them to pay it forward. This could be for a student or a fellow teacher, or anyone. That's it. Get the kindness ball rolling. Just that simple.