Pay It Forward

I made the acquaintance of a woman today at the post office. She stood behind me in line and saw what I was packaging up to send to a “friend” for a fundraiser of sorts. I unwrapped it to show her – it feels nice to have something you’ve made adored by a stranger – and told her that I made this little dress from a recycled pillowcase. She told me it was beautiful and that a little girl somewhere was “just going to love it”.  I blushed and quietly thanked her for her kind words.

As I was neatly placing the dress in a “Flat Rate Shipping for $4.90” box, my new friend asked me how much it would cost to overnight it. I told her I wasn’t sure – and knew it was more than I could spend on sending the dress – and that this box would get to her in a couple of days.

She said, “Well, let’s ask the man at the counter and I want to help you send it.”

“That’s very sweet, thank you. But you don’t have to do that.”

“Well, see, I have these Express stamps that I’ve had for a while and they are worth $13 each and I want to try to trade them in, but I don’t think they will let me. And if they won’t then I will give you one. And if they will, I still want to help you. Even though it’s more than what you need for that box. So let’s see about overnight shipping.”

In my mind I hoped that they would let her exchange her stamps – accepting kindness is harder than giving it, for me.

She couldn’t exchange them as they were outdated – Express stamps now cost $18, hers were at least five years too old for exchange. She called me to stand next to her at the counter and told the man that she wanted to help me and what would overnight cost.


She tore off two of her stamps and handed them to me, smiled, and walked away. I thanked her and hugged her as she walked away, hoping she would still be there when I got done at the counter. By the time I finished sending my package, she was gone.

She didn’t ask my name or my story or my need, nor did I ask hers.

But I know she is called Grace.


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