Recently I observed a mother and daughter board a bus, the daughter sat in one row, the mother two rows behind, beside me. The daughter turned to talk to her mom and her thermos rolled off her lap, onto the floor and shattered. The daughter looked horrified, the mom calmly told her to clean it up. I had a plastic bag with me, so I offered it to the mother. She gratefully took it and the daughter cleaned her mess up best she could. I could only imagine how the girl felt about her chances of getting a new thermos any time soon. The girl had tears trickling down her face but never said a word, nor did the mother.
Suddenly, it was my stop and the mother and child exited the bus as well. We crossed the highway to the median and had to wait for traffic.
As we waited I saw tear stains on the girls face and I realized that at no time had the mom displayed any anger at her daughter. What a great mom, I thought. I impulsively offered the mother 100 pesos for her daughter for a new thermos. The mother spoke little English, but with my limited Spanish I told her I had six grandchildren in Canada but none in Mexico and I would like to buy them a new thermos. With a big smile on her face, the girl accepted the money; we crossed the highway and bid each other adios.
Returning home, I related my experience to my wife and we both jokingly wondered if the girl would get her new thermos.
The next day, while waiting for a bus into PV, a bus pulled up and the same girl and her mother got off. I pointed them out to my wife as I noticed she had a new thermos.
She dropped her thermos!
It did not break.
As she picked it up she saw me and gave me a big smile. Her mom looked our way and this time I was rewarded with a smile and a wave.
I felt like a million pesos!
A spontaneous act on my part and I was rewarded with smiles.
Living in Mexico certainly makes you appreciate what we have and the opportunity to “Pay it Forward’ exists everywhere.
Buy shrimp on a stick on the beach, on the bus buy candy, or chips, tip musicians, waiters, taxi drivers, and hotel staff generously.
Many of these people exist on your tips and a little generosity on your part can go a long way in helping people in their daily lives.
Remember, 100 pesos are not the same as 100 dollars.
And smiles of gratitude are priceless.
For my wife’s sixty something birthday, I planned a surprise party where I had her favorite band (Soul Trip) play Saturday afternoon at Ana Bananas in La Cruz. (We went by bus). I notified friends that “their presence was requested, and presents were not”, but tips for the band would be appreciated.
Our friend “Ceedub” took this to a new level. He offered the band a 500 pesos tip if they would learn Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and play it as his present to Velma. The song is a regular in their repertoire now and every time we hear it we always remember “Ceedub’s” pay it forward moment and we smile with gratitude.