Picture this: you’re in the drive-thru at Tim Hortons; you pull up to the window after ordering only to find out the person ahead of you has already paid for your order.
It’s a feeling many of us may have experienced a time or two, and you better believe it has the power to brighten someone’s day. It may also compel us to keep the kindhearted gestures flowing.
Since 2008, on the first Friday in November, communities in Canada celebrate the pay it forward movement with Random Act of Kindness Day; a day meant to encourage those unexpected moments of generosity.
At the Tim Hortons on Millar Avenue in Saskatoon, pay it forwards are not unusual.
“We have this happen almost every day,” store owner Janna Dutton said. “But we’ve probably got about 20 times the transactions that we normally do for pay it forwards.”
Dutton attributes the influx to Random Act of Kindness Day.
“Spreading awareness for random acts of kindness is a good feeling and the more kindness you put out in the world the more you can expect to have come back,” Dutton said.
Behind the initiative is the Saskatoon Community Foundation, who organized a number of different ways people could participate throughout the city.
“When something that is a surprise happens to you, it kind of hits you and I think that lasting feeling, we want people to pay it forward,” said Carm Michalenko, executive director of the foundation.
They took that concept one step further, presenting The Lighthouse with a Random Act of Granting in the form of $2,500.
“As a community foundation our donors support us so that we can give grants out to our communities’ greatest needs,” Michalenko said. “Certainly what they do here is all about paying it forward.”
The welcome surprise catching Lighthouse executive director Don Windels completely off guard. “I had no idea,” he said. “We added security in the front here so it’ll go towards probably that.”
At the end of the day Michalenko said kindness is a universal language.
“It goes a long way when you spread that kindness. When you touch the life of someone else it really touches you back and I think that’s what it’s about.”