Yesterday I was at the Esso at Eglinton and Bermondsey. A man in his 40s and his young son were filling their white Equinox, license BBLE 593, with gas when another gentleman, a new immigrant, approached them. He told this man that his card was not working to put $10 in gas into his minivan and that he, his wife and their infant son were trying to return to Montreal but were out of gas. This man then paid for and pumped $20 worth of gas into the minivan and wished him best of luck on his trip home. I was impressed by the generosity on display.
It reminded me of the expression "pay it forward". The theory is that if you help someone who cannot possibly pay you back at that point in time, then at some point in the future they will in turn help someone who cannot possibly pay them back and so on and so on. A movie of the same name theorized that if you do three acts of kindness instead of one, the ripple effect could change the world.
The term "pay it forward" was popularized by Robert A. Heinlein in his book Between Planets published in 1951. Since then, many charitable organizations have been founded to try to implement the concept.
This man's actions encouraged me to focus on taking the time to show love, appreciation and kindness to the people around me.