Pay It Forward

There is a concept that happens in my city (and likely in many others), that can be described as “Pay It Forward”. There will often be threads on our local web  portal that have others thanking the generosity of anonymous patrons for their “paying it forward”.

Most common in fast food coffee shop drive thru’s, but also in some restaurants (normally during holidays such as Thanksgiving), it is the act of paying for your own bill, as well as that of at least 1 other person. In a restaurant, it could mean paying your tab, as well as the tab of the table behind you. In a drive thru, it could mean giving the attendant a $20, then asking them to  give out free coffee’s till the bill runs out.

Which is a cool idea, don’t get me wrong.

But one often times hears the word “generous” brought up in this situation. Well, I suppose.

However, seems to me that covering the tab of someone that is obviously easily able to cover it themselves, is not REALLY generous. A nice gesture, sure. But generous, no.

For me, the word generous would entail giving to the needy. Making a donation (however much you choose to spare) to a charity of your choice.

I had more or less the same complaint with the airline Westjet, with a viral video they made by having a “Santa” ask random people what they wanted for Christmas pre-flight, then delivering the wishes upon arrival at the other terminal. The internet went wild, with this show of generosity a month (or so) before Christmas. Some even leaving comments on social media reading “I am so glad I choose to fly westjet!”, praising their generosity.

Then of course, those like the grinch over here, have to come along and piss in everyones corn flakes.

Has to bring up things like, how strange it is that a company would want to look at different ways to advertise out side of the normal avenues (in a world of adblock and netflix/torrent users).
How the big purchase was REALLY not all that much, in the grand scheme of things (im thinking less then a national television ad campaign).
How the receivers of all the toys and goodies, did not REALLY NEED to have any of those things bought for them (THEY ARE PAYING AIRFARE!).
And how this little expenditure, guarantees that this westjet commercial, will be viewed by hundreds of thousands of Canadians.  Hundreds of thousands of canadians that will likely skip (or block) other ads, in order to view this one.

Im sure there are many out there, that will disagree (or take offense) to what I just said. Heck, even I have to question my cynicism sometimes.

But in reality, I would rather live in a world of cynical nihilism, then a bubble of positivity. Being positive and looking on the bright side may be good for ones sanity. But always looking on the bright side, has left many a person bilked by those exploiting those traits.

So keep a positive outlook. But do not kid yourself.

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