When I was a freshman in college, I met a girl named Alyssa at lunch. We were grouped by majors, and I was a nursing major at the time. We found out we had anatomy together, along with a few other girls. Alyssa was funny and you could tell she was the type of girl to always be herself. I didn’t talk to her often after that, but I saw her everyday in anatomy. Later on in the semester, I noticed her missing from her lab seat. And then she missed another lab. Eventually, I found out Alyssa had passed away. I was shocked. I barely knew Alyssa, but I remember being so sad to hear about her passing. She was a bright, beautiful spirit taken at such a young age.
The next week after I had heard about Alyssa’s passing, I saw a girl in my class with a Starbucks marked AJO on it. She explained it was for Alyssa. Alyssa’s parents had gone to Starbucks and purchased Pumpkin Spice Lattes for others as a way to pay it forward in honor of Alyssa. Alyssa had been talking to her mom about how she’d like to try one just before she had passed. The cups were all marked AJO, Alyssa’s initials.
The AJO movement grew immensely. People from my hometown heard about it and were doing it. People were paying it forward in new and incredible ways. I remember being so touched to see this happening. It was something that was present for my entire first semester. I remember going to the dining hall during one of the last weeks of classes to find out somebody even paid it forward there and paid for the next seven students dinners, one being mine.
I’ve always wanted to pay it forward because I know it is an incredibly kind way to brighten somebody else’s day. So when I began the year, I told myself I would try to do a “pay it forward challenge” for myself.
I didn’t really know what I wanted to make this challenge be. And then I stumbled across my friends post on Facebook. This is what it said:
To start this year off in a loving way I’m participating in the Pay-it-Forward initiative… The first 6 people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year- anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home-grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These 6 people must make the same offer in their FB status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile, (don’t share) so we can form a web of connection and kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2017, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other
(If you say you’re in…#1…you really need to do this. #2 If I don’t have your address…PM it to me!)
I commented on my friends post saying “I’m in!” and then posted it myself! I was pretty disappointed when I only had two comments on my post – so I’m taking it upon myself to pay it forward at least four more times on my own.
I’ll post another blog on here once I complete each act and detail just how they went. I think kindness is an incredible act and character trait to have. If you’re reading this – I challenge you to post the statement on your Facebook too! Or to just try paying it forward yourself. Join the movement of love and kindness. The world could always use more.