I very much appreciated your first in a series of Pay it Forward features in the March 28 Elkhart Truth. It gave a nice balance to the many very negative news events which unfortunately do have to be covered. This feature could also include Random Acts of Kindness, a "first cousin" to Pay it Forward.
Several years ago while exhibiting in an art show in St. Paul, Minn., my wife Shirley and I visited a small grocery store on Grand Avenue. After going through the checkout line, a young man who was perhaps 14 (but appeared younger) picked up our groceries and carried them out to our van which was parked in a very small unlit parking area. I thanked him and handed him a dollar. He immediately said, "Oh no sir, we don't accept tips here. We just hope you come again."
For several minutes Shirley and I discussed what had just occurred. We agreed that he could easily have pocked the dollar. I returned to the store and asked to speak to the manager. There was an immediate sense of uneasiness as one of the clerks called the manager. He greeted me asking if there had been a problem. I gestured toward the young gentleman and said, "This young man just carried out our groceries and refused to accept our tip." The manager was visibly relieved and said, "No sir, we do not accept tips for carrying out groceries." I then asked the manager if they had a policy about accepting tips for honesty. He hesitated, smiled and said, "No sir, I don't think we do." I then handed the young man a $10 bill and said, "Thank you."
I will never forget his smile.