I’ve been that woman, groceries all rung up, ten people in line behind me eager to get home at the end of a tough day, looking none too happy as I tear apart my purse looking for my checkbook, loose cash, or my credit card…and I can’t find anything…anywhere. “I must have left everything in my other purse,” I mutter apologetically as I keep looking, sticking my hand in pockets, telling my son to put the candy bar back, counting my change. I’ve got forty-three, no, forty-four cents. I stop. Nothing close to the $45 I need to take home dinner for my four hungry boys. I struggle to control the rising flush of embarrassment, ignore the impatient murmurs from the line, and appreciate the efforts of the trying-her-best-to-be sympathetic cashier. “Just leave your cart here,” she offers, “Come back when you find your wallet.” I promise to be back as soon as possible.
I’m relieved when I find my wallet quickly, retrieve my groceries and get dinner on for the crowd of whining, gnashing teeth. (Yes, I do live on the Island of Where the Wild Things Are…)
Dinner at 9 PM on a school night = not a good day.
So when I read about Carolee Hazard’s random act of kindness, paying for a total stranger’s $207 grocery bill, rescuing Jennie Ware when Jenni was having a day like most of us have had at one time or another…I just had one question: Carolee—where do you shop?
I need a neighbor like you.
Upon arriving home, feeling simultaneously proud and worried she’d just been scammed, Carolee posted on Facebook what she’d just done.
I’m sure she was as relieved as I was when I found my wallet, when almost immediately, Jenni paid her back. Jenni rounded up the check amount from the $207 loan to an even $300 – a $93 tip for Carolee’s compassion together with a sweet note saying Carolee should “treat herself to something nice.”
Naturally, Carolee went back to Facebook to report to friends that in fact, she’d been repaid, she hadn’t been scammed, there are good people in the world, and she’d even gotten this bonus money. And she asked for suggestions as to what to do with the money. Her friends are clearly a whole lot like Carolee because while I would have lobbied for the Dead Sea Scrub Facial at the salon, her friends’ recommendations included the Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
Given she’d helped a woman take dinner home to her family – it was a better idea than mud on your face. A lot better.
Carolee liked this idea and matched the $93 with her own and sent it in. And of course, she reported her decision to her friends on Facebook.
Before long, her friends were matching the $93 and friends of friends were sending in $93 and then friends of friends of friends so Carolee set up a Facebook group called The 93 Dollar Club for families in need. Today, that group has 3300+ members and according to the Second Harvest Food Bank, one donor even gave $9300 in memory of her mother. As of November 30, 2010, the Facebook group had raised $113K+ from around the world – proving once again…there is good in all things and forgetting your checkbook isn’t the end of the world.
Practice for today: In honor of Pay It Forward Day – donate $93 to your local foodbank OR collect $93 worth of food from your overstuffed cupboards, unplug the kids from the video games (I’m speaking from personal experience – you might need to have a “unexpected” power outage) and take them with you to deliver a little comfort on a tough day. We’ve all been there.
And join the 93 Dollar Club on Facebook – just be sure to post it on your wall.