Have You Paid it Forward in 2012?

December/22/2012 15:19PM
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No, I’m not talking about the tax increase you will be getting from your inept government in 2013.

I’m sharing two stories of two young men who died all too young. Both may make you cry. But, both should inspire you to think about the coming holiday. Maybe you might be inspired to do something special for someone you don’t even know.

This first story is personal. I was involved with something called the American Dream Flight for many years. I was asked to donate the jet fuel for the first flight. I called the Marketing VP and made the request. He said I needed to go through the foundation. I pressed him and said they needed an answer quickly. He said go ahead, but for one year only. I wrote it off.

I got an album from that flight with pictures and notes from the parents who went on the flight. It was a flight to Orlando for kids with cancer. Five days with side trips to Sea World and Universal. One parent came with a child under 12. I sent the album to the Marketing V. P.’s home. He called me and said, “you can have the damned jet fuel forever as far as I’m concerned, just don’t send any more books to my house, my wife has been in tears for days.” I took him at his word and we did give them the fuel even after my company was merged with BP. BP tried to cut it off, but we got several of their employees involved and they kept it going.

When I retired my wife and I signed up as chaperons.  We would be responsible for three teen aged boys(me) and three girls(my wife). One of my boys on the first trip was a boy named Mike. Mike had a brain tumor. I knew he was hurting, but he never skipped a ride, never missed a wake up call, and never complained once. The trip was in the spring of 1998. The trips went every 18 months. It was the most rewarding charitable experience of my life. My wife and I weren’t sure we would go on the next trip. Then I received this letter.

I’m a pretty tough guy, but I still tear up when I read that letter. Needless to say we went on the next trip and five more. This time every year I go to the Dream Flight file and read the letter and look at the pictures of me riding every ride in every park with my three boys. I remember all of them. I pray they are all OK. I tried to pay it forward every 18 months by treating every kid like he was an adult and doing everything I could do to make sure they had the time of their life. I learned more from them than any group I’ve ever been around. About courage, attitude, and never, never feeling sorry for myself or getting down. If they didn’t, what right did I have to whine.

Here’s the second story. It was put on Facebook by a friend of mine. It made my wife cry.


As you get ready for Christmas, think of these two boys. I will. I’ll find a way to pay it forward, but part of that is keeping that to yourself. Try it. No tax write-off, no glory, but a whole lot of warm feelings that are worth more than money can buy.

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