Pay It Forward, NYC

by COLLEEN KROPP · May 9, 2008

    Pay It Forward, NYCToo often, urban centers get a bad rep for being relatively unfriendly and isolated. Granted, this is a blanket statement and oftentimes a terribly misleading stereotype, but there are also too many who believe that city-life is an insular form of existence and lacking of community and good-naturedness. An experience I had the other day is certainly note-worthy. As feel good stories seem to be far and few in between this day and age, I find this to be invigorating as well as comforting for humanity.

    I was moving from my East Village sublet to my new apartment on the Upper East Side. Given that I did not have that much stuff to necessitate a U-Haul, I opted for two simple taxicab trips uptown. Caught on the main street in between avenues, unable to move either way because of my luggage, I attempted to hail a cab from where I was standing. Enough passed by me but refused to stop because "they weren't going uptown today." Strange, right? Anyway, a woman gets out of a cab directly across the street from me and goes to her apartment – even this driver denied me. Not five minutes later, the woman comes back out of her apartment and approaches me, saying that she is walking to the corner and she would hail me a cab and send them my way. I was more than appreciative with this generous offer.

    Shortly thereafter, a cab pulls up and helps me load up my belongings. As we reached my block, I took out my credit card to pay, but he stopped me and said that I was already taken care of. I was so taken aback. The woman had paid for my cab fare in an effort to help me out that day – a random act of kindness from a stranger. Later that day I told the story to my boyfriend and explained that I was disappointed that I had no way of thanking her. His response was fairly simple. He told me to pay it forward.

    I know this is extremely anecdotal, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded that even in New York, the busy center of the universe, unwarranted kindness takes place. Guess I'll be on the lookout for my chance to pass along the favor. Feel free to do the same.