I recently took my children to a large arcade complex to celebrate the end of their school year. They love this particular arcade but I prefer to take them during school hours when it is quieter and less chaotic (a perk of homeschooling). As we pulled into the empty parking lot, they planned out the way they would spend their tokens and dreamed of the tickets they would collect. I smiled at their chatter and decided to channel my inner child while we were in the building. I was planning for a fun day and never would have guessed that a trip to the arcade would be a powerful lesson in kindness and paying it forward.
“Mom, there are tickets all over the place! Somebody is forgetting to get their tickets!!” Caroline could not believe that someone would leave tickets behind. At first I thought it was a forgetful person, then I realized that a mystery person was leaving the tickets for small children to find. Caroline grabbed a fist full of tickets (about 40) from four nearby games and looked over and saw a small girl. “Mom, can I give these tickets to that little girl?” My heart melted as I nodded my head yes. The little girl was so excited to be handed this handful of ticket treasure.
Later on, the kids and I were playing a game and we spotted a bag of tokens that had been left behind. We searched the entire arcade looking for the mom and child who had just been there. We found them in the bathroom and the mom was so grateful that we had found her tokens and brought them back to her.
Zach had his moment to shine when Caroline needed 200 more tickets to get a giant stuffed unicorn. Without hesitation he gave them to her and she beamed at him as she snuggled her new stuffed friend. A few weeks prior, at the same arcade, my 4 year old niece and nephew were given 3,000 tickets by a generous gamer. They were ecstatic with all of the loot they were able to turn it in for!
There may be a lot that is wrong with our world but there is also a lot that is right. The kindness at the arcade took me by surprise but it was a great way for the kids and I to kick off our Pay it Forward summer. We are now plotting ways to pay forward the kindness that has been shown to us over the years. I plan to share our progress with you as the summer goes on. How will you and your family Pay it Forward this summer??