Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pay It Forward

On the evening of November 27, 2012, I was depressed.  I was trying to recover from the exhaustion of my day that had come from once again, trying so hard to pay attention to everyone around me so I could understand the world. 

I was going on seven months with the cochlear implant, and I miserably acknowledged that I was still in such an early development stage regarding my hearing.  It really pissed me off.   I questioned if I’d ever hear normally, thinking I might just be the one person that wouldn’t achieve success through the surgery.   That night, I slouched on my couch, dividing my attention between crap TV and Facebook.

A post from one of my favorite local coffee shops caught my eye, and as I read the story, my mood shifted.  Then, I was crying, but in a good way.  I was so excited that I wanted to share this with the world, and I felt my blog was a good place to start.  I drafted a post rather quickly, re-energized and uplifted by what I had learned.

And then I hesitated.  The two people from the story knew me in the way professionals in the same community know each other- maybe through a Linkedin profile, or through a hello and a smile at a function- but what would they make of some hearing impaired girl talking about them on a blog?  I wasn’t sure, and I didn't feel brave, so I stored the post as a sweet memory. 

That is, until today.  This morning I happened to be at that very coffee shop, and the man from the story, John, stood ahead of me in line.  I was tickled to see him talking to Sue, the coffeeshop owner, because these two are the stars of the story I so wanted to share.

I patted John on the arm, said hello and we re-introduced ourselves to each other and chatted.  We followed up with one another by email, and I revealed to John that  I had written about him but never shared it.  Little did I know John already knew a bit of my story, (He read the ever-so-popular Fitness Barbie!) and encouraged me not only to keep sharing my stories, but to SHOUT them. 

So here I am SHOUTING WITH JOY.  Here, my friends, is my post about John and Sue.  Prepare to be inspired!

Written November 27, 2012

Today is Giving Tuesday.

In the past, I’ve failed to acknowledge the significance of this day, certainly placing a greater emphasis on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Today, however, I learned of an act so heartwarming and magical that free shipping and doorbuster deals paled in comparison.

In the nearby city of Glens Falls, NY, there is a gem of a coffee shop called North Country Coffee Café.  Also in town is O’Brien Insurance Agency and today, these two small businesses partnered to create Giving Tuesday magic.

In observance of the day, all purchases made at North Country Coffee Café were compliments of O’Brien Insurance.  They only asked that in return, the customer “pay it forward” by giving in his/her own way to someone else.

Can you picture the joy?  The surprise?  If I went to pay for my cappuccino and found out some stranger had taken care of it for me, I would have happy danced out of the shop!

Over and over today, I’ve imagined smiling customers leaving the North Country Coffee Café  full of inspiration, their hearts equipped with a tad more trust in human kindness.  Some customers wrote down how they planned to pay it forward and posted their ideas on the cafe’s wall.  Others started a Hurricane Sandy donation jar.  And there are people like me who through the power of social media, learned of this great act and then asked myself, “Well, what can I do?”

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I sometimes struggle to acknowledge the small victories in my journey, failing to recognize how miraculous it is to hear a certain sound that I have never heard before.  I’ve also realized that when I fear I’ll produce something less than magnificent (such as when I blow off my rehab exercises because I don’t want to score less than perfect), instead of doing something, I do nothing at all.  And THAT is the biggest failure there is.

Today’s kindness at the coffee shop reminded me that even one small act can be truly meaningful.  And when you combine a bunch of small acts together… well, that is absolute magnificence. 

So I march onward, inspired by today’s acts, and gratefully taking each small whistle, beep and buzz with me in my journey toward clarity.


  1. Great story !
    We are really grateful that you took the time to spread the word about the PIF movement. Thanks to your assistance we will succeed to involve more and more people !
    We will publish a book in a near future called "Your Unique Pay It Forward Story" featuring stories from various authors who "paid it forward. Let's keep in touch!
    Take care‏