It’s that time of year when folks tend to make an extra effort to pledge more of themselves than any other time that isn’t specifically designated as Tis the Season.

Traditionally, people view the part of the year around Christmas as a time to be jolly and friendly towards others…

In what now seems like a bygone era, a time before Social Media, when kindness was performed minus fanfare; people would often perform good deeds for others without any expectation of reciprocity. Last week, nine hundred cars ‘paid it forward’ at a Minnesota Dairy Queen.

For more than two days, every customer offered to cover the tab of the person behind them...When Jensen [store manager] noticed that the chain showed no signs of stopping, she posted about the phenomenon on the Dairy Queen’s Facebook page. The post wrapped up with a call to action: “Let’s keep this caring train going!”

The Thrillist By Kyler Alvord

Beside the business getting additional sales and national attention, what purpose did this actually serve? Isn’t each patron’s good dead rendered mute as no one except for the last person received any benefit other than possibly fifteen minutes of fame on facebook?

There’s a neat organization called Pay Away the Layaway. Donations go to help pay for items folks have purchased on a layaway plan through participating retailers. Layaway plans help folks buy things they may want or need without going into debt and helps them better manage their daily finances. Seems like a good program, check it out if you are so inclined.

Our mission is to inspire hope and spread kindness by helping families pay off layaway balances of gifts, school supplies, toys, books, games and clothes for KIDS.

A group on Facebook for American flooring installers is running a Christmas contest. To enter, the contestant would need to donate any dollar amount to another person’s layaway plan at a retailer of their choosing, donate to the layaway organization above or pay for a stranger’s groceries. Then proceed to post photographic evidence including receipts, and consequently be eligible to win a prize donated by a flooring industry tool or sundry manufacturer. A contestant may also double their chances of winning a prize by spreading the “love” on the Instagram page of the contest organizer and sole judge.

Undoubtedly there will be beneficiaries of this contest and certainly most choose not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Though, peering behind the curtain there appears to be something very self-serving about the entire pay it forward concept and how some people are manipulating altruistic conduct for attention on social media. When a billionaire like the ex Mrs. Bezos publically gives away billions it says a couple of things; one, she can afford it and maybe it’s akin to five dollars to the regular working person. Two, there may be another agenda that would be accomplished by such generous public contributions. Simply put, she’s buying something she can well afford and in a time when so many are struggling it seems insensitive to flaunt such wealth.

In a bygone era people would help others no matter the time of year, modestly, out of the kindness of their heart. No reciprocity or publicity was expected. Actually, it was frowned upon, as the giver could be insulted by any suggestion that the motives were not pure. How it felt to help someone else was the prize in and of itself. The dividend it often paid was an understated reputation as a philanthropist.

You know what? The era is not bygone. True, the media hordes are getting the attention, but continually working behind the scenes are the true humanitarians. Spreading kindness, not just this season but every day they’re fortunate enough to open their eyes.

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