I began watching the news and I was reminded of the interview on CBS a Bill Gates. Mr. Gates was there to promote his new book that talked about the world, hungry, children death rate and some myths that exist. One of the myths that were talked about was foreign aid. Mr. Gates and his wife give a lot of money to help other people and not only here in the United States but all over of the world. Mr. Gates spoke about how foreign aid does make a difference. I believe he was speaking about his and other wealthy Americans effort’s to help other nations with such issues as child death rate and hunger. Of course when I hear the term foreign aid I think of all the money that this country sends to other countries. Some of those countries still hate Americans and much of the money sent is misused by the current government that receives it. I am not a fan of sending foreign aid to a country I would prefer to see the United States of America fall in disgrace rather than to be appreciative of the act of receiving. But rather than get all upset again about the wasted millions, I think we should spent money here, at home, on such issues as health care, job creation, infrastructure and resource development.
For some reason today I thought of an incident that happened several weeks ago that to my surprise I took part in. I had gone to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk and while waiting in line to check out I observed a woman in front of me who appeared to be a grandmother at the store with her grandchild. While they were waiting to check out the grandmother seem to be giving the grandchild advice about shopping at the store. The grandchild was young enough to seem to appreciate the information and appeared to be very close to the grandmother. As they got to the checkout register the amount of their purchase was $3.47. The grandmother had been so involved in talking to her grandchild she had not realized that the small amount of money she had in her purse was not enough to cover the cost of the item. At first she started digging through her purse and fumbled around until she found about 2 1/2 dollars with a change. Finally, the grandmother realized she didn’t have enough change and she went to get out her credit card. It was at this point I remembered reading an article about, “passing it on”. As I understood it this is where people either in front of other people in line or behind them inline, would out of nowhere would pay for the other person’s meal or product. When I first saw this I have to admit I thought it sounded a little crazy. But all of a sudden I felt the urge to engage in the practice of “pass it on”. So I told the cashier that I would take care paying for the product. At first grandmother looked at me as if I was crazy and said, “what”. I quickly told her of the practice of “pass it on”. I didn’t want her to think that I was some kind of pervert, so I quickly again explained the process of “pass it on to both her and the cashier. The grandmother’s look went from and inquisitive look and she began to smile. She looked at her granddaughter and then looked back at me and said, thank you so much. I told her it was no problem and made me feel good more than anything else. The grandmother then with a smile said, “That deserves a hug”. That threw me off guard because normally I do not like anyone touching me. But before I could say anything that grandma gave me a quick hug and turned to her granddaughter and said, “say thanks to the nice man and then she left with her granddaughter. The cashier then looked at me and said, “that was a really nice thing you just did”. I then went to the explanation of what “pass it on” was again and how it made me feel good as much as anything else. I also said that was only $3.47 and had it been $30.47 I’m pretty sure I would’ve made the gesture. I know this is off of what I originally started talking about, foreign aid. But this is a form of helping someone else. This person did not ask for the help, or even look my way for help. It was just something that came over me. Ever since I read the article I wondered why someone would do such an act. It didn’t take long for me to answer that question, is this made me feel good.
I am sure for the people like Mr. Gates, it is one of the reasons he believe in foreign aid in giving to others is from the sheer pleasure they receive from giving it. I also know that there are a lot of people out there who do not have the money to give away. I also know that a lot of people give to charitable organizations and churches for the same reason that it makes them feel good. But I like the “pass it on” experience because I got to be there to watch the reaction of the person receiving the aid. There was a total surprise on grandma’s part and I was totally surprised myself for my part. I do not think that I’m turning into a “liberal” like the dentist called me. The grandma in this story seem perfectly capable of paying her own bill. But because she was having trouble finding her money and to me seemed a little embarrassed by not having a change in her purse, I felt it was the right thing to do.
So far that is my only experience with “pass it on”. And I don’t know when that’ll happen again but I do know that without much thought it was an immediate response that made me feel good. It surprised the grandma, the grandchild, the cashier and me.
So, “pass it on”.