It was a frigid Christmas Eve in Des Moines, Iowa when Jonnie Wright stood on the corner of Merle Hay Road freezing and anticipating the kindness of strangers. Many cars drove by ignoring him as he stood shivering in the wet snow. Yet there were several like Rob Taylor of West Des Moines who were compelled to stop and share what they could. When they did, the homeless man smiled and returned their gift with a sealed envelope and thanked them.
When Rob Taylor opened his envelope, there was a note that read:
Merry Christmas and Thank You for your very kind and thoughtful donation. I live in Des Moines but am not homeless or destitute or without a job…(there was a $10 bill inside)….keep it, spend it, pay it forward. Whatever your heart tells you to do.
“I was blown away,” Taylor said. “As a matter of fact, the first thing that I did was call my wife on the phone and I could hardly talk to her on the phone. I said, ‘You wouldn’t believe what just happened to me.’”
At the end of the day, Wright gave away 50 letters worth $1000. Some envelopes had $10 bills while others had $100. The money he collected from the kindness of strangers and more went to the Bethel Mission, a local emergency shelter in Des Moines. Wright’s act of paying it forward touched the hearts of many people who gave selflessly that day, none of them expecting anything in return. One women, a mother who only had $16 to her name gave what she could. It didn’t matter that she had no idea how she was going to buy her children Christmas presents. Not surprisingly, her envelope contained $100, a gift that warmed her heart on that cold blustery day in Des Moines and showed her the #power of love.
How are you giving back? Have you paid it forward lately? We’d love to hear your story.