Friday, February 3, 2012

Pay it Forward...with an Umbrella!

Amidst quite a usual rainy week in January, I noticed a men's black umbrella lying on a bus stop bench while enroute on my morning commute to work. I was deliberating whether to take it or not though my (intuitive) sense felt that if someone else were to pick it up, they might keep it.

While waiting to do so, I was considering my options: (1) I could pick it up and then bring it to the bus depot a few blocks from my work (2) I could pick it up and then post a note on CL (CraigsList) and/or at or near the bus stop or (3) just keep it.

While the latter struck me as a passing fancy as I specifically buy automatic umbrellas like this one - specifically for the ease in boarding on and off buses - I decided to post a note on the bus shelter instead. After all, I didn't want a black umbrella! ; ) (Just teasing, of course!)

Really though, I realized that because the umbrella was in very good condition, almost looking new in fact, and due to its automatic mechanism, that the owner would want it back and probably soon due to the upcoming weather forecast.

I also imagine what I would want someone to do if was the one who lost something, in this case that particular umbrella. So naturally I posted a short note on standard-sized red paper, albeit somewhat dark, and using a black thick marker hoping to direct attention to it. Unfortunately it was a day or two afterwards that I did so.

After posting the lost ad about two days without a reply, I was contemplating changing it to white paper when I received the call, the call for the umbrella that is.

The man was delighted that I found his umbrella and could he pick it up. Going in part with my instincts, I knew I would be safe if he came by my home to pick it up. I could trust him based on how he spoke and what he said.

Part of what he kept declaring was, "You've restored my faith in mankind." I was rather surprised by his statement as I thought it a small but kindly gesture that I return what (rightfully) belonged to him.

When he came by to retrieve it, he handed me an envelope indicating that it was "coffee money." I didn't expect anything other than perhaps a "thank you," so initially I politely declined but he insisted on me accepting it.

This immediately made me think of the movie, Pay it Forward. I love that movie, especially since a motto I invented is to do at least one good deed a day (though I don't always think about this, at least on a conscious level). I wrote about this briefly in a previous posting (see 'Earth Angels' dated Dec. 14, 2011).

My question for you is: How do you pay it forward? What action(s) do you take as a kind deed or gesture?


  1. Hi Elly Pie,
    Sometimes I only have my smile to give, even if it's with my crooked teeth and chapped

    I guess anyone smiling back. =)

    1. My apologies A as I didn't hit the "reply" key so you didn't get my original response when I wrote you the same day of your remark! This is what I had to tell you, "Sometimes that's all it takes, even with crooked teeth and chapped lips. We all need a smile from time to time, and it can be a simple gesture, as simple as that (as I referred to in the Dec. 14th, 2011 post)! :) Thanks for sharing Anonymous (and I know who you are! ;) <3

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  3. p.s. The original handwritten note with a sketch of an umbrella with a handle and a $5 bill: Thank you Elly - Please don't be offended by this very small token to remember your kindness & good deed.

    Perhaps STARBUCKS or Timmies' [sic or can't read writing but meaning Tim Hortons] for a treat? Tks. [his signature]