Paying it forward

On Monday mornings, my parents usually head to their favorite grocery store. Because my dad is bald and needs to protect his head from the sun, he usually wears a cap when he goes out, often his SeaBee cap.

It’s not unusual for people to comment on his SeaBee cap, thanking him for his service or mentioning a family member who was also in the US Navy or another branch of the military.

While they were checking out, the man behind my father was asking him about his service; Dad served in the Pacific in World War II and was called back into active service during the Korean Conflict. When it was time to pay the bill, a woman who was third in line, having heard the conversation, came forward to pay for my parents’ order. Her husband, now in his 50s, had been career military and she wanted to express gratitude to the prior generation of veterans.

My parents were so surprised! My mom said that she had heard stories about paying it forward, but had never seen it in action. I told my mother that it is good for people who are used to giving, as she and my dad have been for decades, to be able to accept a gift so others experience the joy of giving, too.

Mom is already planning to give extra food/money this month to Mother Teresa’s Cupboard, which aids local folks who are hungry, to pay it forward again.