Last winter was a pretty rainy one here in the Bay Area.  I can’t remember what happened exactly, but I found myself in the city without my umbrella.  This is unusual because I carry an umbrella in my computer bag.  Perhaps I left it out because it was wet.

Anyway, I was in the city without my umbrella and when I left the office for the train it was raining. It’s only about a ten minute walk, which isn’t too bad, but it was far enough to get completely soaked for my 1+ hour ride home.  I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I flipped my computer bag around to protect it from the wet and started walking.

I was stopped at the very first crosswalk and there was a guy with am umbrella there.  He turned to me and held out another umbrella!  He said, “Here.  I was out with friends the other night and forgot my umbrella and one of my buddies gave me this one.  So, I have extra. It’s yours.” I thanked him profusely and got to the train only a little damp.

I’ve carried two umbrellas in my computer bag now since then, just waiting for the opportunity to pay it forward.  And this morning, I was standing at the train station and a woman stood next to me on the platform without an umbrella.  This was my chance!

Rain in a puddle (Photo by Trey McIntyre)

“Last winter, when it was so rainy, a guy gave me this umbrella one day when I forgot mine, so I’ve been carrying this extra with me ever since.  It’s yours.” She was also very grateful and I wished her a good day as we parted ways while boarding the train.

I love nice things like this.

It cost me nothing, really, to do something nice for someone, to make their day a little better.  I want to live in a society where people are benevolent and do kind things for one another.  You don’t have to go out of your way to be polite and kind to one another. You don’t have to give up anything of any significant value to promote benevolence and generosity.

The lady I gave the umbrella to said she would do the same thing and pay it forward. I hope she does.

Photo Credit