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Posts Tagged ‘pay it forward’

Abraham sits in the background near his flower stand (photo: Reed)

I wandered over to the benches near the Dupont Circle North entrance/exit…hoping to maybe find Johnnie, but he wasn’t there.  Near the benches I saw some guys selling flowers, I walked over and met Abraham and Moses.  Nice guys, but they both refused the $10.  

Larry shows his $10 at the north entrance of Dupont Circle's Metro stop (photo: Reed)

Then I spotted Larry back over on the bench where I had met Johnnie.  I walked over and handed him one of my cards and asked him to be recipient number 244.  After a little discussion he said, “I will accept the $10 but I will not keep it, I will find someone else to give it to who needs it more than I do.”   

Larry, a 55-year-old resident of DC, was enjoying a Starbucks coffee before catching the Metro home.  He has worked in housekeeping at a nearby hotel for the past 17 years.  “It’s a very good place to work,” he says.  But as you can imagine, as someone who goes into guests rooms, he has seen some crazy things over the years.  “I’ve seen grown men fist-fighting.  I have seen rooms completely destroyed.  I’ve probably seen it all.”  

One of twelve children, Larry has grown up in this city.  All twelve of the children and his parents still live here.  He is married and has a daughter.  

Larry was very committed to giving the $10 away.  He tried several times while I was there with him, but was not successful.  Some teenagers walked by and he tried to give it to them but they kept walking.  A father walked by with his child and Larry jumped up to try to give it to them, but they didn’t even stop to talk to Larry…they just kept walking.  Here he explains his rationale about his decision to pass the $10 along to someone else.  

Finally I thought Larry was going to find someone.  He found a student, Mike, who was sitting nearby on a bench.  Mike said that as a student he didn’t have much money himself but that he was sure there were people more deserving than him, so he politely refused.  Larry was struggling and becoming very anxious to give it to someone.  When we parted ways, he said, “Call me tomorrow and I will tell you what happened to the money because I guarantee you that I am going to find someone to give it to today, I ain’t going to keep it.”  

(photo: Reed)

The next day I called Larry and said that he found a guy and took him to Subway and bought him a sandwich.  “I still have $5 left though.”  I am going to give Larry a call this week and meet him for coffee and see if he did something with the other $5.  

By the way, I was able to deliver some clothes and other items to Garrett that Deb from Illinois sent.  You can see the video of him receiving the items here.

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I spent my Saturday mostly shoveling the walkways in front of my building and doing things around the house.  I decided to go out in the evening to try to find a recipient.  It’s hard to get someone to stop and talk to you when the weather is like this, so I decided to stop in to a little wine bar that is next to my place called Veritas.
 

Veritas DC: Corner of Conn. and Florida

I like Veritas and recommend you check it out.  It’s a small laid back place, perfect little escape during a snow storm.  I tried a flight of Spanish red wines which was highlighted by a Beronia “reserva” from the Rioja region.  It was excellent…it was a little spicy with a velvety texture that coats your tongue.  

I was seated next to a group of three young professionals.  I asked the one closest to me if she would accept my $10.  Patti declined, but said that she would do something with her own $10.  She was heading back to see her family in New Jersey soon and said she would use $10 to pay for other people’s tolls.  Excellent!

I still had to give my $10 away though.  I asked her two other friends.  They talked amongst themselves a little and then decided that Lauren would accept it.  

I move down to speak with her and find out a little more about her and what she will do with the money.  The bottom line is that I didn’t learn much about these folks.  My questions were deftly deflected to questions back to me for the most part.  I learn that the three of them are in journalism…so they are used to asking the questions.  I did find out that Lauren was 31, lived in the Dupont Circle area, enjoyed boxing (I kept my distance), and yoga.  

She was not sure what she would do with the $10.  She said she would somehow “pay it forward.”  We talked about somehow putting it in a protective sleeve and leaving dropping it on the ground with her email on the $10 so that someone would follow up with her if they found it.  She agreed to email me later and let me know what she did with it.

Lesson for the day, don’t try to ask journalists questions.  They will flip the tables on you :).  Maybe they will check out my site and give me some suggestions for improving it and reaching more people.  Heck maybe they will be inspired to write about what I am doing.

I’m off to watch the Super Bowl now… I have no real passion for either team, so I guess I will go with the underdog, the Saints.

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