Small towns have a way about them. Everyone knows everyone else. People know you, your parents, grandparents and the original color that your house once was. Having become a part of a small community several years ago I can tell you that when it comes to paying it forward, no one does it like small town folks do. What is pay it forward you ask? Pretty simple. You do something nice for three people. Those three people pay it forward by doing something nice for three more people. Simple, right? Right. This Pay It Forward Friday is for a town full of people paying it forward. Unfortunately. Bad news piles on top of bad news which piles on top of more bad news. And a town is left reeling.
It began with a mom, young son, toddler daughter, and grandma. During a visit with Grandma the women stood out in the front yard gabbing, as women are wont to do. The children played tag at their feet. Then, as small children are wont to do, the young boy swerved sharply and darted into the street. Into the path of an oncoming truck. The tiny boy with the blond hair and dimpled smile was killed instantly.
It was followed up later in the week with a husband and father of three. A former airline pilot he lost his job in the crunch of the economy. Times are hard. Not many people are hiring. Worries about providing for his wife and three school age kids began weighing heavily on his mind. One morning he drove to a public park and put a gun to his head. The man I once sat next to on a couch and chatted with about Florida family vacations was gone in a second.
The week ended in the middle of the night with an eighteen year old college freshman. A bright boy, he once dated the class valedictorian and graduated from high school with honors. The middle child of a close family. Newly acquired heroin addiction. A drug deal in the middle of the night took a deadly turn. The police are asking for help in finding his killer or killers. The teenager who once showed so much promise has had his voice silenced forever.
Lots of people out there know what it's like to suddenly, shockingly, suffer the loss of a loved one. Fortunately, these people are rallying around the three families. A group of mothers who have lost children are reaching out to the newest members of the club no one wants to belong to. Dinners are being cooked for the families. Donation jars are springing up all over town. Charts and graphs are being created in school and church basements. Charts that detail the time and day volunteers will pay their visits, take care of chores and entertain the young children who don't comprehend everything going on around them. It's pay it forward in reverse. Instead of one doing for three, it's many doing for three families.
Nobody makes it through without some heartbreak and heartache. Whoever you are, where ever you are, look at the person next to you. They have been there, done that. Or they soon will get their chance. We're all in this together. You will get the chance to repay a kindness that was shown to you. Please, don't let that opportunity pass you by.