Back in 2000 the movie ‘Paying it Forward’ starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment explored the idea of doing something for someone else just to ‘pay it forward’ as opposed to being paid back for a good deed. I stumbled upon the movie over the weekend and found myself compelled to watch again having really not seen it since 2000.
I’ve also seen a number of television spots from Liberty Mutual Insurance from a 2011 campaign they call ‘Doing the right thing’. Here is one of the spots –
. I love the music associated with the spots as well as the feeling generated from the good deeds and actions depicted in the one minute spot. There’s also a 30 second spot along the same lines but different music
Last week I had my own experience of someone doing the wrong thing, and others doing a good thing. I returned from New York late in the evening and it was raining and I noticed a plastic bag on my windshield. Inside the plastic bag was a note that said “A Subaru Forrester, I think New Jersey Plates ****** could have possibly been Connecticut plates, hit your car in parking lot’. Multiple witnesses. And three people signed their name and gave their telephone numbers.
I stood there in the light rain for a moment trying to process what had happened. It was dark and I did not immediately notice where my car had been damaged. Finally I saw that the front bumper had been scratched but the damage appeared to rather minor. Still, from the initial outrage of how could someone hit my car and just drive away, my thoughts turned to how amazing it was that three total strangers would stick their necks out, take the time to write a note (not everyone has a pen and paper handy) and find a plastic bag in which to put the note so that it would be legible.
I contacted the people that wrote the note and thanked them for their considerate acts. I also contacted the local police department to report the incident but as yet have not heard back from anyone as I left a voice mail since it was hardly an emergency.
So I start my week with the positive notion of keeping in mind what it feels like to be the person who was treated right, instead of the person that was wronged. I hope and will look for an opportunity this week to pay it forward myself. And it should be that way every day, every week.
It’s worth it don’t you think?