Paying it forward is contagious in La Grange
Updated: March 4, 2013 1:49AM
LA GRANGE — It was Christmas Eve, and instead of being at home in front of a holiday feast and exchanging presents by a glowing fire, Cathy McCrory Rossmiller of La Grange was driving from one pharmacy to the next to fill a prescription for her daughter, who was suffering from a virulent form of the flu.
On her way to the second pharmacy — the first one had run out of the prescription — McCrory Rossmiller stopped at a drive-through Starbucks to recharge on coffee.
“I was in the drive-through line, and it was a long line, with my head in my hands, thinking about all that was going on. When I got to the window, the woman said, ‘The car in front of you just paid for your drink,’” she recalls. “And I looked at her and said ‘Are you sure?’ She said yes, and that it happens a lot on Christmas Eve.”
That small act of random kindness happened at the right time for McCrory Rossmiller. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that it changed my attitude 180 degrees.”
Paying it forward, through some kind of random or anonymous giving at a time when people least expect it, is one of those things that restores your faith in humanity.
Angela Franklin of La Grange recently paid it forward when she bought scratch-off lottery tickets as surprise Christmas presents for the people who regularly help her at a local fuel station.
“The girl behind the counter came around and gave me a hug, and said, ‘No one has ever done that for us before!,’” remembers Franklin, adding a friend of hers recently gave an extra $20 to the drive-through attendant at a nearby McDonald’s to buy coffee for a car behind her in line.
“There is a lot of that kind of thing going on. I think you see more kind acts at Christmastime, but lately, our hearts have been heavy, in this community and after what happened in Connecticut,” notes Franklin, alluding to the national school shooting tragedy and some recent unexpected deaths in the La Grange area, including those of much-loved young people.
While paying it forward reaches a pinnacle this time of year, one of my neighbors experienced such a moment in the middle of the year, on a random day.
She and her family were out at a restaurant for dinner, enjoying a full round of appetizers, dinner, wine and dessert.
“When it came time to pay the check, our waiter told us that it had been taken care of by an older Middle Eastern couple seated a few tables away,” she recalls. “We were so touched and my husband went over to thank them. They had preferred to remain anonymous but were gracious and told him that there was too much hatred in the world and they just wanted to do something nice for others. That inspired me to pay it forward.”
Hence, a few days later, she was shopping at Jewel and paid it forward in her own way, by purchasing two gift cards and giving them to customers who were walking into the store as she was walking out.
“Naturally they were a little leery, but they eventually took the card and I asked them to just pay it forward. I’m hopeful that they did,” she says.
As a New Year begins, paying it forward is one trend that’s worth carrying over. As McCrory Rossmiller observes, “It’s kind of contagious.”
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