Considering the incivility of politicians, cyber bullying, and terrorist attacks, reports of random acts of kindness happening all over the place is good news that lifts the soul. In an article at Nytimes.com, "Ma'am, Your Burger Has Been Paid For," Kate Murphy writes about the pay-it-forward phenomenon. In drive-through food places, a person pays for the meal of the person in the car behind him or her and then drives away.
The backstory for this outbreak of generosity comes from the movie Pay It Forward where the protagonist does three good deeds and then asks those who have benefited from his acts to pass it on to others.
Catherine Hyde Ryan, the writer of the book the movie was based on, says this drive-through phenomenon is "an example of goodness gone viral."
Perhaps the most mind-blowing example of drive-through generosity took place last December in Winnipeg, Canada, where 228 consecutive cars paid it forward. A string of 67 cars paid it forward in a place in Houston in April, 2013.
Part of the appeal of this spiritual practice lies in the anonymity of giving a gift to a stranger. Another part of this phenomenon is that paying it forward is doing something positive to counteract all the unkindness in the bad news we hear daily.
We salute the civility and the spirituality of the pay-it-forward drive-through phenomenon!