Sunday evening, my oldest son's Cub Scout den and a few of us parents went out to clean up their Adopt-a-spot. This little patch of median on Valley Parkway just across from the kids' elementary school wasn't all that bad - mostly just cigarette butts and stuff, but it was a good lesson for the kids to do something civic-minded.
So they all have their orange "Keep Lewisville Beautiful" vests over their Scout uniforms, and keep wandering uncomfortably close to the street as cars are whizzing by, and dusk is coming on. Cars slow down a bit, and this one guy in a mini-van slows way down and hollers something out of the window that I couldn't hear.
This driver goes down to the next turn and turns around, parking his van in the street. He gets out and starts walking over to our Scout leader and I'm thinking "what is this guy doing?" He raises his hand and I see that it has a crisp $100 bill in it.
He explains that he was touched and inspired by seeing them out there, and he wanted to show his appreciation. Our Scout leader thanked him and the boys thanked him, and decided that they would give half of that to the Scout Pack, and the other half to Keep Lewisville Beautiful.
The fellow only gave his name as Emmanuel.
Though, I wouldn't want my kids thinking that we do civic things because we expect a reward, I do believe it's good for them to see how doing good things can inspire others to do good things. It's sort of like the Liberty Mutual commercials where person-after-person sees the good deed and passes it on - not directly benefiting or being paid back, but unknowingly inspiring someone else.
If you think about it, life sometimes works the other way, where we expect the worst from our fellow man, and repay it with our worst - usually to the ones we love. Someone is rude to you on the highway, so you're an ass at work to one of your co-workers. They then go home and kick the dog and ignore their kids, who then go to school the next day and bully some other kid.
But just think about how much of that kind of stuff we could all turn around if each of us repaid all of those little injustices and those little bouts of rudeness with some random act of kindness?
Thanks, Emmanuel. You inspired me, so I'm paying it forward in my little way with this post. Lets see who else we can inspire.