Pay It Forward

By Lori Hartwell

Pay it forward

Lori Hartwell-Renal Support Network-RGBMy mom and I were shopping. Both of our arms were full with the store’s 50%-off sale merchandise. The store was packed and there wasn’t a lot of room to move around. The checkout line was long and a man was arguing with the saleslady about a price. The energy in the air was unhappy. Mom and I looked at each other and mentally asked each other, “Is this really worth it?” At that moment, my mom accidentally bumped into the young woman waiting in line in front of her and promptly said, “Excuse me.” The woman turned around and asked my mom, “Can I hold something for you?” The woman said this with a big smile and an eagerness to help. Mom was startled; she said, “No, I got it, but thank you for asking.” After we checked out, as we were walking to the car, all we could think about was how nice that woman was and how her kindness really was the highlight of our shopping experience.

I often forget that the random act of kindness is the glue that keeps society together and brings a smile to our face. One of my favorite movies is “Pay it Forward.” In this movie, a young boy takes on a social studies project to prove that if you help three people in one day, and then they help three people, and so on, the world will be a better place. At the end of two weeks, 4,782,969 people will have  experienced a random act of kindness if this progression is followed. Today, I encourage everyone to “pay it forward.” Here are a few ideas: Bake cookies for a homeless shelter. Write a note telling your healthcare professional how much you appreciate him or her. Volunteer to read to children at your local library. Organize a toy drive for the holidays.

Look for opportunities to open the door for someone. For those of us who are kidney patients, the opportunities to be kind to fellow patients are virtually endless. And remember… your random act of kindness just might be the difference between someone living in despair or with hope. If you see the need, ask a fellow patient whether you can help out. Say something encouraging to the person sitting next to you at your dialysis unit. Drop off some magazines for your transplant clinic’s waiting room. It’s not even important that the people you’re helping know it was you who helped out.
Helping others makes us happy. To quote the novelist James M. Barrie, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

Chronically Yours,
Lori Hartwell,
President & Founder of the Renal Support Network


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