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Paying It Forward

Updated 07/17/2016

For some, this is a new concept ... that is in
reality, several centuries old.

There are many ways a person can "pay something forward" without costing even one penny.
  •  You pay the cashier for the next person's order
     at a drive-up.

  •  You hold the door open for someone who may
     need the helping hand.

  •  You offer to help someone who is unsure or
     confused about something.

  •  You assistance someone who is in need.

  •  You repay the kindness that others have given to you without knowing who you  were or are.


This new concept first appeared in the play Dyskolos in Athens, Greece, 317 B.C.

Benjamin Franklin rekindled the concept in a letter to Benjamin Webb dated April 22, 1784 where Franklin wrote:

I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you [...]  meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by  lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like  operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another  opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro' many hands, before it meets
 with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a  deal of good with a little money.

In his 1981 Essay Compensation, 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.

Football's coaching legend Woody Hayes (won 5 national titles and 13 Big 50 Championships in 28 years at The Ohio State University)
promoted the idea ...
but badly misquoted Emerson.

The term “pay it forward” was popularized in Robert A Heinlein’s book Between Planets published in 1951, Heinlein wrote:

The banker reached into the folds of his gown, pulled out a single credit  note.  'But eat  first — a full belly steadies the judgment.  Do me the  honor of accepting this as our welcome to the newcomer.'  The hungry  person, Don, had his pride saying no but his  stomach said YES!  Don  took it and said, 'Uh, thanks!  That's awfully kind of you.  I'll pay it back,  first chance.'  'Instead', said the banker, 'pay it forward to some other  brother who needs it.'"


SOURCE:   Wikipedia.com
                Specific information is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_it_forward