1. Tony

    My Dad taught me to pay the bridge toll for the car behind. He crossed into Staten Island from NJ every day. I regret the advent of transponders take this away.

    Saturday there was a homeless man washing up in the men’s room at iHop. I was able to alert the host/hostess station to serve him breakfast and send me the check. He’ll never forget what i’ll Never miss.

    • Oh my gosh! That toll booth idea is (was?) fantastic! Your gesture at iHop was also remarkable too. Food seems to be a theme in the comments!

  2. Three of the very best people, and I’m so glad to call Cait, Revanche and you my internet (and IRL, in your case) friends!

  3. Mrs Thompson

    This post made me cry? I have been fortunate enough to have been the recepient of very generous benefactors and can’t begin to thank them all enough. However, I do strive to pay it forward. We might be poor but we’re not cheap ☺️

  4. This is great! As a teacher, do you have any suggestions how those of us without kids can help? I want to do more, but I just don’t know how.

    • Hmmm. I think the best way to start would be to find a school (in your community!) and ask. Or better yet, just offer!

      For instance, if you have art supplies (fabric, markers, etc.) that you don’t need. Or newspapers and magazines. A lot of times, schools are always in need of things like that. If you want to give something monetary, you could try to look up a social worker’s contact info. Or even just reach out to a teacher. It sounds creepy to suggest, but it’s just a point of practicality. One year, a student’s family wanted to give me their home library (!!!!!!), and the receptionist misunderstood, so I never got the call. Luckily, the father reached out to me and showed up with his truck and dolly the next week. I got over 100 books that way!

      You could also look at Donor’s Choose to see if your area is active! I’m happy to DM suggests your way, too. It warms my heart that you’re asking!

  5. I love this. “Get the right resources to the right people.”

    One of my tiny gestures: I look for kids in the pet store who seem very invested in caring for their pet. I try to get to the register before them, and I put some cash on a gift card and have it set aside for them. I never get to see the reaction, I hate lurking around, but I always hope these tiny actions foster more sparks of compassion and kindness in the kids.

    • Oh my! What a sweet idea! I can’t say I’ve ever done anything like this. How clever!

      If I have an odd dollar or two left on a gift card, I do pass it back to the person in line, but I never thought to load a gift card like this. Filing this away! Thanks, Salty Old Dog!

  6. I am humbled (and ecstatic) that our small gift was meaningful enough to be part of his accomplishment. We weren’t looking for acknowledgement but knowing it made a difference tells us to keep doing this and I so appreciate your sharing both the need and the result. I will always be looking out for ways for us to make our money go to the right people.

    • I know, I know. You are far too kind and too humble and too modest. You and Cait both are, so I really wasn’t sure how or what to do. But the truth is, for as much as we talk about giving (or not giving ::insert angry emoji here::) in the PF world, I don’t think we see this end of things enough. So I wanted to share.

      Thank you for being an amazing human!

  7. This post provided me with such a warm, fuzzy today. I am a huge Revanche fan and although we’ve never met in person, this small but powerful gesture seems right up her alley! I think these stories are so important especially in the PF/FI/FIRE space. People often say they don’t want to donate because they don’t have a lot of money, but sometimes the tiniest gestures provide such long-lasting impacts.

    Two tiny gestures:
    My husband and I randomly pay for dinner when we see a young couple that appear to be on a first date. We simply ask the waitress for their bill and pay it. They never know we paid, because we do it on our way out the door.

    Lately, I am on a quest to buy inexpensive books from Scholastic so I can hand them on to kids who might not otherwise have access to books at home. So far we’ve purchased $100 worth of books, which equates to 100 books! We spend roughly $15 per month and at the end of the year they are given away to a local school. Each student gets to choose a book or two before heading home for the summer!

    • I am totally snagging this first date idea! And you know you hit my heart with that Scholastic book gesture! Getting kids access to their *own* books is huge. I could wax poetic about a good community (or school!) library forever, but the research says that it’s also home libraries that matter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  8. I love this Penny! It’s so important to pass the kindness to other people, especially when you have the ability. That’s exactly why we donate to charities each month and I donate blood regularly. My self imposed goal is to hit 100 donations. I’m currently on 63 or 64 I think. Considering you can donate blood every 56 days (for men), it’s not a short term goal. 🙂

    • This is definitely something I should look into this summer! I’ve seen a local church with a blood drive van in its lot a few times. I will see if I can sign myself up for the next one. Great reminder that giving isn’t just about money!

  9. Great stories and both so important. It’s incredible how targeted giving matters in so many different ways.

    I’m glad both acts kept you in the profession – we need people like you there.

    • Ha, yes. Had I thought of your second sentence last night, I could have just skipped the other 1400 words 😉

      And thanks. That’s so kind of you. I hope I can stick it out. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. <3

  10. I’m not crying… you’re crying. (Ok, I’m crying.)

    You’re a big part of my inspiration to give in accordance with the values of who I want to be, even as I am not yet out of debt (the bad kind–with the credit cards, for clarification).

    Also–enjoy your well deserved summer. Bad years are killer.

    • That’s the best comment I’ve ever gotten on this blog, Diana! I am definitely not the most charitable, but giving and gifts and thinking of others makes me really happy. So I’m glad to write about it, and I’m happy when it resonates with others.

  11. I love the nutrition bar story. I had similar success when I read a PF blogger needed some motivation getting a 529 plan started. A few other bloggers chipped in on social media and suddenly there was a small $75 bounty for the 529 to get done.

    And (of course) Revanche was the first person to comment how cool it was.

    When I was being sued for defamation by a number of MLM companies the personal finance blogger community was there for me and she was there for me as well.

    • Revanche really is awesome 😀 I’m sorry that you got so tangled up in all the MLM stuff, but how amazing that you want to advocate for people!

  12. This is so cool Penny and Revanche(two of my favorite blog buddies btw) Both of you were able to help that kid out with his attendance issues with a breakfast bar of all things. It helped sparked that kid on going to class earlier and earlier. The act of kindness can go a long way.
    It’s why I love volunteering at the local food bank and donate blood.

  13. Oh my gosh! What a bunch of lovely people and amazing gestures! Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a gesture like this that I’ve given or received lately. I think that means it’s time for me to re-up my giving game. I’m so glad these two wonderful humans got through your stubbornness (?).

  14. Ok, I want to cry thinking about how big Revanche’s heart is – something I already knew, but this was just another example of. And her lesson is so important. I’m going to be thinking about that for some time… as for the Starbucks story, the only thing I can say is that I don’t make impulse purchases anymore… but I’m very much in favour of impulse giving. If you think of it, and it’s within your budget/other resources, don’t question it. Just do it. Thank you for paying part of it forward, and for putting $20 in your budget to keep doing so… your heart is also a big one, my friend. xo

    • Thanks for the comment, Cait! Her heart is so big, as is yours. It makes me so incredibly happy that I found both of your voices so early on. Thank you.

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