I have to be honest when I say this. I did not know the concept of paying it forward before I bumped into an experience in life. When I moved to Canada, I was just a little over 18. I just started learning about Canadian culture and traditions. One day I was buying a coffee at the Tim Hortons drive-through. When I approached the cashier to pay and grab my coffee, I realized the person ahead of me paid for me. I was confused by what just happened. I asked the cashier,

“Who was that person?”,

thinking it must be someone I knew. But the cashier replied by saying,

“Sir, I don’t know. You can pay it forward if you like.”

My immediate reaction was like, “Paying it forward! I am broke!” I was now more confused and felt the need to say thank you to the person who just paid for me. I grabbed my free coffee and started looking for the person in the parking lot. 

Later that night, I was hanging out with some friends and shared this confusing event that happened, and everybody laughed at me. Three of my friends experienced this many times at drive-through Tim Hortons every morning. I was now more curious and fascinated with what I had learned. I never thought I would see something like that happen to me.

According to dictionary.com, “Pay it forward is an expression for when the recipient of an act of kindness does something kind for someone else rather than simply accepting or repaying the original good deed.”

While growing up, I did see that happen, just never thought about it. For example, I have seen people around me help other, less fortunate, people and not ask for anything in return. I never thought about the cycle of paying it forward and the ripple effect it can have on society. If you do it for someone and they do it for someone else, the period keeps going on and on. It can change people’s perspective as it did for me. Next, before you know it, the world is full of good deeds. What a world to live in! I was so happy to learn of this. To make up for the cycle-break that I did earlier, I still try to start one cycle every once in a while. I don’t know how long they go for, but I hope it continues with other good deeds.