I thought the car in the front of me at the White Castle was nondescript and a little slow but I was more than a little unprepared for what happened after it drove away. With my arm and my $20 bill out to pay my $17.38 bill, the clerk said “your meal is free.” I looked at her like she had two heads and asked her to repeat what she said.

She did and said the people in front of me had paid my bill and this “paying it forward” had been happening all day. I sat in disbelief as she said the first person had done it as a way to help Nashville tornado victims who might be hungry and in disarray. I was taken aback but had the wherewithal to ask how much was the bill for the car behind me. I happily handed her the $5.87 for them as my way of letting the circle of love continue.

A special thanks for all the ways that people around the country have been reaching out to tornado victims in Tennessee. The losses are great and the devastation is real. To see your business or home in shreds but having the will to rebuild takes a special kind of mindset and fortitude. Your prayers are still very much needed and appreciated.

Back to the paying it forward idea–think about what would happen if every day we did a small gesture similar to paying for someone’s meal or some other like it for people with no expectation of getting something back. Imagine how much nicer the world would be if you spotted a great parking space but passed it up for the person behind you.

One of the local radio stations had a promotion where you could nominate someone for the person of the day and beautiful flowers would be sent to the nominee. I loved to make anonymous nominations and call to offer congratulations. The recipients always wondered who would have done something so nice and their delight always made my day.

At church Sunday I ignored all the warnings about touch and I hugged all the people I ordinarily hug—pretty much anybody who holds still long enough to get one—and prayed that they didn’t have the Corona virus and if I had it, I wasn’t spreading it. Sadly this health crises has reduced our touch opportunities when people are lonelier and more isolated than ever.

Unfortunately we are running scared without really good or complete information about the cause of this outbreak or how it is transmitted. The media coverage is 24/7 but doesn’t seem to allay fears about its rampant spread.

Considering I don’t have a medical degree nor am I qualified to offer any legitimate prevention information, I’d like to encourage the following: please avoid touching your face as much as possible; wash your hands every time you think about it; call and check on the vulnerable populations – the elderly and those with compromised immune systems; pray for a cure or treatments that will save lives; and every chance you get, be kinder than you have to be.

On another note, St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and for the Irish among us, Happy Day and best wishes. I don’t wear green nor do I know where any leprechauns or pots of gold are, but I do know that celebrating one’s heritage never gets old. Gathering the Irish kin may not be appropriate this year but whoever you are don’t miss an opportunity to gather family and friends for good times and laughs.

Share your “Paying It Forward” instances this year at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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