Kansas FFA Blog

Pay it Forward

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and with this holiday comes a seasonal time of gratitude for others. Social media has been flooded with sappy appreciation posts for family and friends, cards have been exchanged, and kind words and hugs are frequent occurrences. Although these gestures certainly don’t go unnoticed, I believe that there are better ways to prove our thankfulness.
Since childhood, I have heard the axiom that “actions speak louder than words” – and it has proven true many times over in my life. However, I realized the true impact of this statement just a few days ago in the most unexpected of places.
My teammates and I had traveled across the state for half a day to the far southwest town of Hugoton, KS, for a leadership conference. After spending a day with the Hugoton, Elkhart, Stanton County, and Southwestern Heights chapters, I left feeling humbled and inspired to serve this association with a greater passion. But it was not until the long trek home that I realized the power of a good deed. After only two hours on the road, the whole crew (myself included) was feeling pretty tired. I pulled over at a small gas station in Bucklin, where we clambered out to stretch our legs and refuel our bellies and my gas tank. By the time I filled up the car and went into the store, my teammates had finished and gone to wait in the vehicle, leaving only myself and the young woman at the counter in the store.
I made a quick sweep of the store and then settled on purchasing a Milky Way and a bottle of chocolate milk. As I was checking out at the counter, the cashier and I exchanged small talk, but were interrupted when my debit card was declined after spending the last bit of my funds on gas (As a banker’s daughter, this is especially embarrassing, as I have been lectured many times on the importance of keeping up with my accounts). I hastily apologized and reopened my wallet to find $2 in cash – enough to cover the Milky Way. I proceeded to purchase the candy and then made ready to return the milk to the cooler, when the cashier proceeded to ask me how much I had left to cover towards the milk. I didn’t realize what she intended until she pulled out her wallet and paid the difference from her own pocket.
I said, “You don’t have to do this.”
“I know,” she replied, “but I’d want someone to do the same for me.”
I thanked her, and as I left the store I realized my eyes were teary. I didn’t even know this woman’s name, but as a total stranger she showed an act of kindness at a time when I was tired and hungry. That chocolate milk tasted twice as sweet knowing that it had come to me from the goodness of someone else’s heart – a stranger who had literally “paid it forward”. I have challenged myself to continue this chain, especially in the light of the holidays.
Therefore, as we go about celebrating Thanksgiving with our families and those dear to us, let us take our gratitude one step further. Rather than just stating our appreciation for others, let’s take the time to let our ACTIONS speak for us – whether it be volunteering in our community, giving a friend a ride, or simply helping to wash the dishes after Thanksgiving meal without being asked. Let us take these values of compassion and gratitude, and pay it forward.

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