Man Celebrates 65th Birthday By “Paying It Forward.”

31 Dec

Inspirational Story Of The Month 

(Names And Details May Have Been Changed To Protect Privacy)

If you have seen the movie Pay It Forward, you have an idea what we are talking about.  If not, it doesn’t matter because the concept of “Paying it Forward” is much, much, much older than the movie that made it popular.

The concept can be dated back to 1841 when Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “In the order of nature, we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”

In 1916, Lily Hardy Hammond wrote, “You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.”

In a nutshell, pay it forward is asking the beneficiary of a good deed to repay it to others instead of to the original benefactor.  In other words, passing on the good to the rest of the world, especially those who may not be in a position to pay YOU back or give ANYTHING to you in return.

That’s exactly what Doug Eaton decided to do for his 65th birthday.  As the story goes, he turned 65 on June 11, 2012.  He was looking for something to do, so he asked his friends on Facebook what he should do.  He got a whole bunch of suggestions.  Some were good.  Some were bad.  Many were ridiculous.  One was brilliant.

That suggestion was, “Why don’t you do 65 random acts of kindness?”  Eaton immediately knew that was the winner.

According to Yahoo: [Eaton spent] 65 minutes standing on the corner of NW 39th Street and May Avenue in Oklahoma City, handing out $5 bills to people who passed by. He told his Facebook friends that he handed out more than $375, but the response – and the amount of good cheer he shared – was priceless. From a distance, Eaton looked a bit like any other panhandler holding a sign at a street corner, but instead of a plea for money, his sign read: “I have a home… and a car… and a job. Do you need a few bucks for some coffee?”

As you can imagine, people who drove by were shocked.  Some just drove by shaking their heads.  Others told him, “God bless you.”  Many did not want to take his money.

Eaton posted on Facebook, “One obviously needy truck holding a family came around the second time after misunderstanding the first time to give ME $2 just to bless ME for what I was doing.  I took their money AND gave them a $5. We kind of traded blessings.”

A lot of people told him to give theirs to someone else.

But, Eaton did not invent this birthday act of kindness idea.  In 2010, Robyn Bomar turned 38 by doing 38 random acts of kindness.  Bomar wrote on her blog, “I planned out 38 things ahead of time, just in case, but really was praying for opportunities to present themselves throughout the day. My husband, three daughters, and my husband’s parents joined me in the most favorite birthday of my life!”

That day changed Bomar’s life and she started a website with an online community of people who celebrate their birthdays by paying it forward.  The website is  Now you know what to do for your next birthday! 


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