Continuing to pay it forward in La Grange
Updated: March 11, 2013 2:21AM
LA GRANGE — The nice thing about paying it forward — “it” as in unprompted and often anonymous gestures of generosity and kindness — is that it perpetuates.
I know this because after I sent out a query about those who have paid it forward or had it paid forward by someone else to them, I got a lot of responses. Last week’s column was devoted to that topic, and I call this one Paying It Forward, Volume Two.
Stories like this are fun to share and, hopefully, at a time of some upheaval and uncertainty, heartwarming to read.
Like the perspective on paying it forward from La Grange resident Julie Rickman, who says she loves the concept.
“When I was very pregnant, I fell on some ice and a very small elderly woman rushed to help me,” recalls Rickman. “She could not help me physically get up, because I was afraid I would have knocked her down. too. However, having someone check on me and see that I got to my car all right was very comforting.”
Rickman thinks about that woman a lot when she has in turn helped others, such as assisting an elderly man who fell into the water at a beach and another older woman who had fallen in a grocery story parking lot.
“Obviously, these are some of the scary times of paying it forward. But I do enjoy the smaller moments, as simple as paying a little extra for the kids that don’t have enough, holding the door open for someone or helping someone I don’t know up from their chair. I paid a toll for someone once, and that was fun,” Rickman notes.
Lisa Collopy of La Grange shares a story she heard from a friend about a church in another Illinois community. On Christmas Eve, a collection plate was passed around but it wasn’t for donations: the church leader asked that members each take an envelope containing $10 and pay that forward in some way of their choosing.
“I haven’t heard of a church doing that before and think that’s a great idea,” Collopy says.
Meanwhile, another friend of mine who lives in La Grange who prefers to be anonymous (I should give her a cool pseudonym, like Ginger Hale) talks about the time when her neighbors came over while she and her family were out of town and cleaned their basement that had flooded after a record-breaking rainstorm.
“A year later, I cleaned up another neighbor’s basement, after their sewer backed up,” she says.
She also says she used to shovel her elderly neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk without being asked, as a way to pay it forward from her own parent’s neighbors, who looked out for them.
Local proprietors have seen good deeds at work. John Bachenberg, store manager for Starbucks Coffee in downtown La Grange, says while most pay-for-the-person-behind you moments happen at drive-thru locations, he has seen customers buy drinks for those next to them in line.
“Also, we have some people in unfortunate situations, who may be homeless, who tend to hang out here around the holidays and I’ve seen people pick up pastries and give them to them on their way out,” he says, adding such niceties peak around the holidays, but don’t necessarily have to. “As far as I’m concerned, it can continue every day.”
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