Paying It Forward
Mon, 23 Sep 2019
Paying It Forward
We were playing golf on a sultry, Saturday afternoon in late September. The golf course was very crowded, with all manner of duffers seeking to take advantage of the glorious weather this late in Summer.
As always happens on a crowded golf course, someone or more of the old rascals gets antsy with the slow play engendered by so many folks out beating the grass. On the 15th hole, as we stood waiting our approach shots into the green, a tee shot from behind us sailed by us, startling us. It does happen often enough, but it still startles you when some knuckle head hits a ball into you. In the old days, the duffers have often launched a missile on purpose to “get the group ahead moving.”
These sleek, surlyn-covered missiles, sailing along at over 90 miles an hour, could do serious damage to a human if they connected with you. And it does make liable the launcher to a legal charge of assault for doing so intentionally. Battery is added to the charge of the ball strikes someone. And of course a good thrashing, from a less than forgiving Hibernian ahead of you, is always a possibility.
We looked back, making “WTF gestures.” On shorter-tempered occasions, I have driven back to confront the rascals and threaten bodily mayhem if they did it again. In that we were in mixed company, we settled for a shrug of shoulders and a muttered “knuckleheads” comment as we hit our next shots into the green, On the sixteenth tee there was a back-up form the crowd, playing ahead of us.
As we sat there waiting, a middle-aged duffer approached us from the group behind us, offering an apology for hitting into us. He was sincere in his apology and we responded in kind, accepting the offered plea and telling him that it was “no big deal.” We much appreciated the decency of this duffer for saying that he had screwed up. You don’t always hear that from the rascals around you. It was a nice gesture from someone who had been taught manners by good parents.
I didn’t think much of his incident of it until the next day, when we were driving down busy Maple Road. A generous driver stopped his vehicle and let us into the stream of traffic, on a busy day. We waved our thanks, to another gracious individual, who thought of others before themselves.
It got me thinking that as a society, we should be sending out more positive vibes to the many people who daily do kind deeds for absolute strangers, just for the pleasure of doing something nice. We should be more aware that there are really a lot of nice people around us. And of course, family, friends and neighbors do these deeds for us daily, never even thinking about the kindnesses bestowed. We ought to be more appreciative of all of the kind-hearted people around us and smile more at the many generous things that they do for us.
In our daily experience, we forget that the vast majority of people around us are wonderfully kind and decent. It is only the small number of the ill-mannered and irritating that we often remember, much like a bee sting or a bad experience. The irritation of the bad ones can over shadow the rest of a perfectly wonderful day.
We have resolved hereafter to try and forget the knuckleheads we encounter and reinforce the kind-hearted and generous among us. So, when next someone does you a kindness, however trivial, take a moment and say thank you, reinforcing their good behavior. Perhaps, it will give them a lift when they most need it. A smile, and a whispered Thanks you, could start a generative wave that will resonate through society, paying it forward and enriching all of our lives immeasurably.
Thanks y’all, for the many kindnesses that you have extended to Mary, myself and our families.
Joseph Xavier Martin