Today 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 8 ways you can participate and make a difference in someone's life.
- 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)