April 9, 2020

Pay it Forward: A COVID-19 Challenge.

Read: Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon


Pay it forward.

I watched the film when I was young, and the concept stuck with me.

It stuck with me, but I never really did anything about it, save for maybe buy a Starbucks for the person in line behind me. Even then, it wasn’t like it was I who started the gesture. I didn’t serve beyond being a link in a singular chain.

I recently wrote an article. This pandemic won’t change the world, I said. I finished writing it and felt inspired to do something.

I can’t do much. I’m an editor at an independent publication, after all. But there’s something about this pandemic that has gently caressed me awake to several of my blessings, or my privilege, or whatever you call things of that nature for yourself. Basically, I wanted to think outside of my own discomforts and struggles, and instead of focusing on helping myself, help someone else.

So I went to a page that my little city has set up to support each other through this crisis. I asked:

Does anyone know of a local family of no more than five that could use having a pizza night in at their home? I’d like to treat someone (after pay day) who could benefit from enjoying some smiles with their loved ones over a couple pizza pies delivered from a local place.

So many families have one or two people out of their jobs.

So many people are alone at home, dealing with depression in quarantine.

So many children are bored while their parents struggle to work from home while also suddenly being their child’s instructor.

So many you-name-its are in a flat-out rough spot.

After a couple of days (yep! It took more than a few hours for someone to say, “I want a free pizza,” which just goes to show how not as many people as we might imagine are poised to take free handouts), I had a lead.

Today, my good deed was fulfilled.

A family of artists was treated to a pizza of their choice and a calzone from the open, local pizza place nearest their home in a neighboring town.

It. Felt. Awesome. Here’s why:

And then the person who connected us treated another family to lunch, too.

People paying it forward with however small or grand a gesture they could.

No, a pandemic may not transform our world into a utopian society. But we, as individuals, can start to do the hard work. We can start training for the marathon of changemaking that we dream of seeing set into motion.

We can start here, right now. With one tiny (or big) act of kindness.

And so, I encourage you to start your own pay it forward chain. If it makes a chain of three people, or 12 people or 1,000, it makes a difference—if not to a million people, then to one.

Pick your magic. What’ll it be? Let’s keep track in the comments.



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