CINCINNATI - Thursday is International Pay It Forward Day, a time to perform and celebrate acts of kindness that can make someone else's day a bit brighter.
In 2000, author Catherine Ryan Hyde inspired the "Pay It Forward" movement with her bestselling novel of the same name, about a boy who accepts his teacher's challenge to come up with a plan to change the world.
You may have seen someone "paying it forward" before: covering a stranger's bill if they're short on cash or leaving a special pick-me-up treat for a coworker. Here's a list of 9 ways you can participate and make a difference in someone's life.
- Fazoli's is celebrating International Pay It Forward Day by handing out more than 100,000 vouchers for free pasta marinara. The idea is that customers will be inspired to "pay it forward" by donating to Feed the Children, a non-profit hunger relief organization, when they come in for the free entrée. Check with your local Fazoli's to find out if it's participating.
- When hitting up your favorite coffee shop on the way to work, pay for someone's cup of coffee. It'll make their day, guaranteed. A long line at the drive-thru can put a damper on the day. "Pay it forward" by picking up the tab for the person behind you.
- Buy treats and leave them out for your coworkers. Sometimes, that surprise morning bagel is all someone needs to turn a frown upside down.
- Make a donation to your favorite charity; you'll feel great and be helping out a cause in which you believe.
- Help your neighbors out with yard work; get the paper from the end of their driveway and deliver it to them or bring their mail up from the mailbox. While you're at it, stop for a chat.
- Sit down with your kids and write cards to cheer people up. These could go to a friend, family member, local retirement center or hospital.
- Have a friend who's been feeling down lately? Make an online playlist or burn a CD to cheer them up. Music is great therapy, and you'll get to share some of your favorites with a friend.
- How many times has the parking meter expired on you? Save someone else from that agony by putting money in the meter if the time is about to run out
- Sign up to be an organ donor and get on the match list. What's better than the gift of life?
- Ideas for International Pay It Forward Day: http://payitforwardday.com
- The Pay It Forward Foundation: http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org
- About Catherine Ryan Hyde, who's book "Pay It Forward" inspired the movement: http://www.catherineryanhyde.com
WATCH: Trailer for the movie, "Pay It Forward" (2000)
How are you celebrating International Pay It Forward Day? Tweet me @jennyfromthebak and share your stories. I can't wait to hear them!