Pay it Forward Challenge


Like all of you, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on yesterday’s unfathomable events. Call me an idealist, but I refuse to believe that humans are inherently evil and we’re all screwed. I agree we need larger reforms, but I also believe that small random acts of kindness (even just smiling at a stranger) can change the world with little ripples of hope.

I think there’s no better time than now to get out there and remind humanity that there’s good in the world. And don’t just do these in the aftermath of tragedy, build them into your weekly/monthly routine.

A couple of low-effort ideas:

  • Buy a cup of coffee for the next person behind you in line at Starbucks, your local coffee shop or wherever.
  • Tip double what you’d planned. Even if the service was bad. Maybe a good tip will brighten that salty server’s day.
  • If you have the funds, next time you go to a concert or movie, buy a ticket for the person in line behind you.
  • Bake some cookies and leave them on your neighbor’s doorstep or give them to someone on the street.
  • Send mail to your grandparent or parent (if you’re lucky enough to still have them).
  • Clean up your block by picking up litter or beautify it by adding some art or plants.
  • Engage in conversation with that elderly person in line or at the bus stop, they may just want someone to talk to briefly.
  • Get offline for a few hours and go interact with human beings. Call up a friend for coffee or a drink.

Here’s a broader list and an old website that was full of great stories of kindness.

Feel free to stay cynical. But remember these are real things you can do NOW and they’ll happen a lot faster than government reforms.

Finally, for those of you who simply prefer to express your charity through writing out checks, a friend of mine from film festivals is a native of Newtown, CT. Please consider donating to her fundraising efforts for the Sandy Hook PTSA.


About Meghan A.

creative & professional creative professional | communications, content & community | nasty woman | adventurer & inspiration seeker | bicyclist & feminist | walk san francisco board | current: Adobe Typekit Product Marketing Manager, former: TYPO SF magic maker
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