This is our second blog in a series of "Do Something" blogs.
It seems like all I hear about on the news lately or in social media is some story or post or article or Tweet about someone paying it forward. It's never happened to me, but I still get the feel goods when I hear or read about something like that happening. But, I wonder, do people "pay it forward" because it's an easy, impersonal way to make themselves feel better and a little less guilty about all the starving kids and animals around the world? Is it just a way to clear their conscious for a little while? Something happened to me at the grocery store that makes me think that's exactly what it is.
It was Saturday morning. All I wanted to do was stay home and relax. I'd had a rough week and wasn't feeling great. Curling up on the couch with some Saturday morning cartoons seemed like just the ticket, but that wasn't to be. We needed groceries and my husband (who, by the way, usually does the grocery shopping for me) decided that this day was not his day to brave the aisles. He refused. And even though we probably could have made it another day without milk and bread (you know, it wasn't like we had snow predicted or anything), I decided that a trip to the store just couldn't wait. So, off I went all by myself.
Maybe it was because I forgot to eat breakfast, maybe it was because I spent 3 hours in the store, maybe it was the florescent lights that were trigging a super migraine, but for whatever reason, as I was turning to go down the bread aisle (ironic, huh), I started spinning. I mean, I wasn't really spinning, but my head was and then it started getting dark and then I opened my eyes and I was on the floor. My head was still spinning so I couldn't get up. I took out my phone to call my husband (this is how I know how long I was on the floor), and of course he didn't answer. I sent a text and kneeled there and waited.
What was I waiting on? I was waiting for my head to stop spinning so I could get up. I was waiting on my husband to call so I could have him come get me. I was waiting on somebody, ANYBODY to stop and ask if I was okay. I waited for 30 minutes on that floor. My husband didn't call. Not one person stopped to ask if I was okay. A few even moved to the very edge of the aisle to avoid me. I think what finally helped me get myself together and get up off that floor was rage. Pure, simple rage. I absolutely could not believe that no one so much as looked my way in the 30 minutes I was down. I got up and shakily and very slowly made my way to the checkout and then thankfully, home safely.
So, what was wrong with all those people? Why wouldn't anyone do something? And there were a lot of people in there. Remember, it was Saturday morning. At Walmart. It was packed. Was it too personal? What if they stopped and asked me if I was okay and I said "no." What then? Would they have to go outside their comfort zone and do more? Maybe help me up or call someone for me? Oh, God! What if I wanted to know their name or they had to find out my name? I guess we're all for paying it forward when it isn't really personal. When you can just slap some money down and go your way, you don't feel obligated and your guilt over whatever petty little thing is bother you is appeased without you having to really give anything of yourself. Ah! I get it.
You might think this experience left me bitter. It didn't. I would stop to help someone if I saw her down. Even if she was just tying her shoe, I'd still probably ask if she was okay or needed any help. I don't do it to make myself feel better or to ease my guilt over anything. I'm a mom. I never feel like I do enough ☺. I do it because that's who I am. It bothers me to see someone in need. If there is something I can do, I'll do it. It is personal to me. I guess that's the difference. It is personal.
Do something. Don't just "pay it forward." Make it count. Make it personal. And rest assured, if I see you bent down tying your shoe in the grocery store, I'm going to stop and make sure you're okay.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.