WHITTLE: Ever pay it forward?
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By DAN WHITTLE

It started as a grey, gloomy and cold wintry day, complete with sore throat, coughs, and accompanying headache.

While en route to North Rutherford YMCA to swim, stretch and hopefully soak away some bodily miseries, I stopped for a breakfast wrap at Arby's.

Truth is, I grew impatient as the car in front of me at the pay window took a moment longer than my sickly-body and lowly-attitude was willing to endure.

Finally, finally, it was time for me to pay and retrieve my sausage, egg and cheese wrap!!

"Oh, Mr. Whittle, there's no charge today," Arby's cheerful window server advised cheerfully. "The person in the car ahead of you, said to pay for yours, you know, as in 'pay it forward.'"

I immediately slinked emotionally lower in my car seat, glad that misty rain covered the windshield so no one could see my red face.

I'll never know the driver's identification, but he or she drove a new Nissan Murano convertible with a Cannon County license plate: To you, nice person, I say "Thank You!"

The bill was only $2.18, but the blessing could not have had a bigger uplifting impact if it had been $50 at the pay window.

From there I went on toward the "Y" in search of a soak in the delicious hot soothing and swirling hot tub, when a gentleman in work-out clothes approached me outside the dressing room.

"Mr. Whittle, I heard about your great grandson (Beckett Nelson, age 3) needing medical treatment that is not covered by health insurance, so I want to make a little personal donation to help with medical costs."

When I opened the gift, it was no "little personal donation."

Being speechless at this second act of "pay it forward" in less than 15 minutes, I don't think I even muttered a heart-felt "thank you" to the kind compassionate soul.

By this time, positive vibes had replaced my torso's aches and pains as I sank soothingly in the healing waters of the Y's hot tub.

As I swam and did my stretching exercises, I savored the uplifting random acts of kindness.

Upon returning home and checking my email, wife Pat advised over the computer that an Action Homes Realty associate, Sherry Lee, had made a donation for construction of a Fisher House for use by ailing veterans and families (at no charge) at nearby York VA Medical Center.

As a result of three back-to-back "pay it forward" acts of kindness, I suddenly realized my aches and pains of the day had melted away.

That same day, Smyrna insurance professional Baker Raborn offered to check with his cast of other volunteers about the possibility of a future "Cruise In" of vintage, rare collectible vehicles as a fund-raiser for our ailing grandson, Beckett, and his parents, Patrick and Amanda Amick Nelson, the most devoted parents I've witnessed in my lengthy walk across our planet.

My family and I are especially thankful for the miracles worked for Beckett by care-givers at Special Kids and Project Help.

Thankful I am to reside in a community of such good and caring neighbors.

Amen!

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